January 24th >>  

  February 1st >>  

A Breakthrough on the Grids
A Today Show Disaster?
Journal 11, 12, and 13
Sun-Yi and The Host
Grids Solved! (mostly)
Creature Captured!
Update Tuesday
Derek Is a Dork
Win a poster of The Host
Journals 14, 15, 16 and 17
Implant Boy Speaks
A Puzzle for Derek
Video Blogs from Sun-Yi
  February 9th >>  

MHC on Fangoria Radio
Journal #18
World 3, Derek 0
Amie Talks to Painted Soul
Fangoria Radio Show - Denied
Grid #3 and #12
5 Per Solved!
The Host Screening
Amie in NYC
Journal Entires 19 & 20
Derek Screws Up Yet Again
A Lead on the Good Doctor
Valentine's Day Is Cold and Snowy
A Note from Dr. T
Creepy Fishes Keep Coming
Make a Video - Win Swag
One Last Envelope
Calling All Hackers
   February 16th >>   

Derek's Mom Comes to Town
Amie Does...Nothing
Sun-Yi Wishes Amie Luck
Journals 21, 22, and 23
A Meeting with a Mystery Man?
Still Hacking
Captain Library
I'd Like to Be Seated in the Emo Section, Please
Sun-Yi on Peanut Butter, Libraries, and Videos
"Yellow Eyes" Video Contest
A Break in M-A-R-A
Haneda AFB Files
Journals 24, 25, 26, and 27
Matt to Hook up with Nate
  February 23rd>>  

Stalking Sun-Yi
Serious and seriouser
Silent Lucidity
6x6 Grid Complete
More M-A-R-A Logins!
Yellow Eyes Video Contest Submissions
Civilization Mutation
Cowgirl Sun-Yi
Turning Over a New Leaf
Another Possible Disappearance?
Journals 28 through 33
Dogs and Insurance Cards
Plum Island and Bergstrom Logins

  March 2nd >>
  March 9th >>
Recap #1 · Recap #2 · Recap #3 · Recap #4 · Recap #5 · Recap #6 · Recap #7· M-A-R-A Logins

Derek's Mom Comes to Town
Derek's newest blog (he updated it before 5pm? He must be sick!) answers a bunch that have been floating around this guide and the MHC forums.
  1. Matt did go home Monday night (with Sun-Yi in tow). After finding Amie asleep on his bed, Sun-Yi offered him her out-of-town roommate's bed so he wouldn't have to sleep on the couch. Aww, so sweet.

  2. Matt and Sun-Yi still care for Derek and want to help him by talking about his recent involvement with Amie. Nothing says caring friends like an Intervention, although it never feels that way to the Interventee.

  3. Derek is a clueless git. He's still trying to convince everyone that he's only helping Amie because she's an old friend. The only person who is buying that story still is Derek.

  4. Derek is evil. He got back at his mom for making him get rid of his toys by making her have lunch with him and Amie. She just happened to be in town, because who doesn't take 6 hour drives at the drop of a hat. Especially two days after a giant snow storm which ended up stranding cars on I-78 for over 24 hours.

  5. Jon Paine's video is a fake. The possibility that this was a fake was brought up by degravity and has since been confirmed by one Mr. Pork Chop. I swear I couldn't make some of these names up if I tried. Of course, this does make me wonder why Amie didn't know this. I know that she wasn't at the actual procedure (she had a cold and there needed to be a sterile environment) but she never saw it afterwards? She claims that she and Jon were playing with it right afterwards. Is that a lie? Did Jon create some mockup to fool her? It must have been some mock-up because you'd think it'd be pretty obvious if you had some surgery done on your arm or not. Maybe I should have believed Painted Soul's comments from before.
Amie Does...Nothing
Amie's update today is nothing too exciting - other than alerting us to the fact that Sun-Yi's crush on Derek is really obvious, giving rise to the question "Is Derek blind or just stupid?" I vote stupid. Mostly Amie's just been wandering around the city with Derek visiting tattoo parlors, looking for Jon or "The Miller" - with not a lot of luck on either front. Thanks for that exciting update Amie. I look forward to Tuesday's update when you tell us that besides visiting tattoo parlors, you washed your hair and gave yourself a pedicure.
Sun-Yi Wishes Amie Luck
Poor Sun-Yi. It seems that she did decide to finish making her Vday card for Derek, only he was too busy with Amie. Since Derek never said that he got the card, I'm guessing that she didn't leave it for him. She does mention something about 'being a bit to abrupt.' I wonder if that means she tore up the card and shoved it into one of his orifices. But he didn't mention bodily harm, either. Hmmm. Maybe she gave the card to Matt instead. Trying to spark some jealousy might be a way to get Derek to notice her.

I do really like the fact that Sun-Yi is able to wish Amie luck in finding Jon Paine. You almost couldn't tell that she had ulterior motives. §
Journals 21, 22, and 23
I'll admit it: I need help. I smiled and then cheered when I read Matt's little summaries about about this week's journals. "Dr. T. is gone." "Dr. T. is dead." Yay!! It's an early birthday present for me! It totally made up for the fact that he posted a day late. Now to find out how he died. I hope it was pretty cool. Correct paranoid code writers deserve to die in nifty ways.
  • Journal Entry #21, 9/16/66 §
  • Journal Entry #22, 9/19/66 §
  • Journal Entry #23, 9/20/66 §
Sigh. No actual details on his death. I'm just gonna pretend them found him floating pantless in the Mekong. But we did get an explanation as to why John had the pictures of Dr. T's family. He must never have been able to contact them (or later decided not to) and just kept the pictures himself. Now I'm sort of wondering how Grace ended up with all this stuff. Yeah, I get that all of John's belongings were shipped back to her, but if John was killed for what he knew/found out, why ship back diaries and other stuff that hinted at the reasons. Dr. T's belongings were being held in a secure holding area before being shipped back - presumably to 'sanitize' them before giving all of it back to his family. Why wasn't the same thing done after John's death? Or did he send all this stuff back to Grace before he got whacked? So many questions.

We did get one last coded message from Dr. T though - on the back of some pudding recipies. § How often did they cook up pudding there that he had recipies for both fig pudding and chocolate pudding?

This is one annoying puzzle - in the fact that I still don't understand really how it was supposed to be solved. There's extraneous information that was never used, and that would appear to be directions on how to solve it, but even knowing what the decode is, I still can't find rhyme or reason to it. §

So bascially, Dr. T found out that Dr. G has been involved with Operation CHASE for some time. This is interesting since it suggests not only were there more chemical CHASEs than has been reported, but that the entire program started well before the published dates of the operation's launch. This project must be under some serious classifications if it's a: never come out and b: contradicts known facts.

One other thing that Matt posted about during this update round is M-A-R-A. Matt's father did sort of the same thing that M-A-R-A does, except his focus was on recovering unused barrels of chemical defoliants. He never heard the name M-A-R-A when he was growing up, but his father did start working for a new commissioned agency a mere three years after M-A-R-A started. The biggest question is: who wants Matt to know about this site?
A Meeting with a Mystery Man?
Lerinth has been good enough to continue talking with Mr. Annoying Painted Soul. If it were me, I would have troll defense mode by now and started talking just as much gibberish back at him. Moving on, it seems that just asking about "The Miller" has caused some unwanted attention to be directed back at Painted Soul. That's almost music to my ears. Let's see him squirm for a bit.

He also does his best "Let me be helpful" impersonation when he informs Lerinth that he might be able to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another lead in NYC. Of course, he doesn't say who this is or what kind of information we might get, because that would actually be helpful.
Still Hacking
So far, no luck on the M-A-R-A passwords. We've gotten a lot of hints as to what we should be trying, but no one has come up with anything that works yet.
  • The name, the user or account or whatever, is based on the name of the place where we recovered the artifacts, in abbreviations, you know? The other part, the password, usually had something to do with the items we recovered there.

  • I think we came across that name [Genero] a few times in our past missions, including once in Japan where it was somehow connected to a classified Chinese folder we recovered from underneath what is now the Tokyo Airport. [Haneda Air Base, Japan]

  • Actually I need to check the user name too, since Ted always used the location as the name for logging in, but you never knew quite how he was going to abbreviate each one. You know, something easy like Goose Bay Labrador is pretty easy to guess - GBL - but when you start getting into multiple words, names, states and so on, who knows what Ted choose?
Listening to the new information about the username, it could also include the city and state, so instead of 'tsf', we could be looking at something like 'tsfuky' which is a little on the memorable side, although I'd hate to have to pronounce it.

One other little tidbit, Nate stated in one email that Operation CHASE started back during WWII. I wonder what he knows that I can't find.
Captain Library
I just don't get Derek. First he goes a little psycho after finding out Matt bought Sun-Yi a Valentine's Day gift. Then he starts protesting that he shouldn't have to buy Sun-Yi a gift anyway as they aren't dating. Just when I think he starts to get it, he totally goes back into utter denial mode again.

It's good to see Matt with Sun-Yi anyway. He's not so single-minded that he can't focus on other people while dealing with his own problems. He has a good balance between updating Rainbow of Death, making sure Sun-Yi isn't getting stepped on, and looking out for Derek (although, I do wish he'd update RoD a little earlier in the day). Meanwhile, Derek has been completely sucked in by Amie. I'm sure he doesn't spend hours at the library studying for classes. But ex-girlfriend needs some research done and suddenly he's Captain Library. I think that's gonna be my new name for Derek.

I wish Derek had found out what Matt had gotten Sun-Yi. I'm curious. I'm also still curious as to what Derek is getting Sun-Yi for her birthday. Or if he's forgotten completely. Matt probably got her something small, but sweet/personal. Like a book on Korean film or a lake monster stuffed animal. Derek's gift will probably be something lame that he thinks makes him look really good.
I'd Like to Be Seated in the Emo Section, Please
Wow, Amie's dove right into the deep end of the Emo pool today. She's been whining about how Jon Paine fooled her with his PDA implant. I still don't know how she could be fooled if she wasn't willing to be fooled. How long did she live with him after the implant but before he disappeared? At least a couple of weeks. And she's claiming that she couldn't tell he was faking it? I dunno.

I'm now beginning to think that this was all some sort of setup by Amie. Maybe she found out Jon was lying. Maybe she found out he was cheating on here. Whatever the reason, she killed him, hid is body somewhere, and pretended he went off to Germany. She then creates this fictional persona, Painted Soul, to confirm he was there and to send people off on wild goose chases. In the meantime, she gets in touch with her old boyfriend, who she knows dotes on her so much that he's blinded to everything else (like she was with Jon). She'll get him wrapped so tightly around her little finger that he'll do anything for her. She won't have to worry about Derek lying/dumping her or anything like that.

The only problem is little Sun-Yi. Amie knows she can ruin her plans, which is why she bitches so much about her. Okay, she bitches a lot about Derek too, about how perfect his life is, but it's all just a set-up. I mean, no one can really be this emo unless they were trying, right? The more emo she is, the less you can see that she's really cold and calculating and just waiting for the right time to sink her claws all the way into Derek so he can never fully escape. I'm just worried about Sun-Yi. If Amie were capable of dropping Jon down a well, she certainly could take out Sun-Yi. However, I do think that Amie might underestimate just how tough an opponent Sun-Yi will be when it comes to Derek. In a fight to the death, Sun-Yi might be bruised and battered, but I think overall she could best Amie.
Sun-Yi on Peanut Butter, Libraries, and Videos
So speaking of Sun-Yi, we've gotten another video blog from her today (okay, it's actually from yesterday, but still. I do love the fact she mentions the salmonella peanut butter to show us that this wasn't pre-recorded months ago.) She mostly talks about what happened in the library while Matt and Derek were 'talking'. Technically, not much happened. But Sun-Yi did come to the conclusion that Amie is hiding something. I don't think she's subscribed to my theory of 'Amie is a cold blooded murderer' but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before she and everyone else does. §
"Yellow Eyes" Video Contest
As Sun-Yi has been promising the past few days, she's finally put up the details of the "Yellow Eyes" video contest. § Sounds like it could be fun, but there isn't a whole lot of time to do it in. I'm gonna try even though I know I'm gonna be busy this weekend and I've never done any sort of video editing before. It'll probably be a disaster, but a fun disaster.
A Break in M-A-R-A
We got our first break into the M-A-R-A archives, and it came from a completely unexpected source.

Cryptidtruth posted a link to a new underwater video (in which you really can't see anything. The cameraman obviously does not work for the Discovery Channel). Luckily, the important stuff wasn't in the video, but what he said in the post. §

The actual readable text is an acrostic which reads '5 per' - and that explains all the gibberish stuff underneath. Cryptidtruth wants to tell us something, and has encoded it into a form he knows we can read. I certainly don't believe he's been the one behind the other '5 per' puzzle since that would put into question his being in Korea and thus all of us creature sightings.

It was actually kinda funny how long it took us to get the solve. The first part is really easy. After that, it took a lot of staring and backtracking through the letters to come up with the solution. § So cryptidtruth broke into M-A-R-A and while telling us what he found, gave us the username and password: HAFB/classifiedfolder. Before we get onto the contents of that M-A-R-A directory, let me just take the time to say what a crap solve this was.

First question I had - Why is cryptidtruth doing a '5 per' puzzle? The answer: characters can't just randomly solve puzzles for players without giving them another puzzle. It really would have felt cheap if he just went "Oh, and by the way, the username is HAFB."

So next question - Why is cryptidtruth solving the puzzle anyway? Answer: we were taking too long. As it becomes obvious from Matt's extremely late update, there was an unknown time factor we were working against. The puzzle had to be solved in order to move us onto the Slack Farm solve before we would have no reason to solve it anymore.

Question #3 - Why were we taking so long? Answer: Because the username was somewhat obscure. Both the flash and the directory list the location as Haneda Air Base, Japan. It doesn't use the AFB that several of the other sites use. Now, if Ted was setting this up to be idiot proof, why would he call it Haneda Air Base (not once, but twice) and use HAFB as the username instead of HAB or HABJ. The password of 'classifiedfolder' was certainly easy enough for us to guess (I had it on my list of possible passwords, and if I can guess it, it's easy). The use of capital letters is a little odd for a username, but as he does hint to that with 'GBL,' I'll accept that. If it had been called Haneda Airforce Base or Haneda AFB, Japan, I'm certain we could have gotten it without the '5 per' clue from cryptidtruth.

This just goes why I hate trying to guess logins. The longer they take, the more it becomes that you're overlooking something that the PMs must think is obvious. But then again, if it was obvious, we would have gotten it right away, n'ést pas? Of course now I'm wondering if it's a password problem or a username problem that hasn't gotten us into The Slack Farm files yet.
Haneda AFB Files
So what did we find in that classified Chinese folder that M-A-R-A recovered? A bunch of files that referenced Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman. I'm not kidding. I have no idea what Genero was doing with a bunch of cryptozoology papers, or even why it would be considered classified. Was he afraid that people were going to think him absolutely nutty for having stuff like that? Who knows, but I hope we find out. §
Journals 24, 25, 26, and 27
It took Matt forever to get the next set of journals up. He was almost 24 hours late. Of course I guess we can forgive him since he has found another puzzle for us and a huge piece of exiting news. But first, the journals. Matt answers one of my questions as to why were are able to see this journal at all - John mailed it back to Grace at some point before he died. It's almost as if Matt is reading my mind (or this guide).
  • Journal Entry #24, 9/22/66 §
  • Journal Entry #25, 9/25/66 §
  • Journal Entry #26, 10/1/66 §
  • Journal Entry #27, 10/4/66 §
So, about the puzzle. Let's look at the 6x6 grid first. It's not that hard to see that it is the base alphabet for Dr. T's subsitution cipher. It goes A through Z and then 0 through 9, so now we have confirmation that the mystery 1l number is 25 for the 25th Infantry.

But what are all the flaps around it? Those flaps allow us to do the transformations whenever Dr. T gives a number other than 0. Imagine that the flaps are numbered 1-8 clockwise around the grid. If the cipher calls for a '1 transformation', you would fold down the first flap. All of the letters in the three left-hand columns would change, while the three right-hand columns would stay the same.

If the cipher called for a 1+8, you would fold down the 1 flap, and then the 8 flap over it. It's important to fold the flaps down in order since a 1+8 fold would leave the 8 flap visible over the northwest quadrant, while a 8+1 fold would leave the 1 flap visible in that quadrant.

The only thing I haven't completely been able to work out is how the letters change under the flaps. I don't know if the original grid has writing on the back, or if there is a formula to know how to rearrange the letters. Due to the amount of ciphertext, I was able to reconstruct what the flaps should look like if they have writing on them. I do know that the letters will not move out of their initial quadrants. I-S-2-7-G-P-6-C-0 will always stay in the northwest quadrant. This makes it possible to fill in some of the blanks on the flaps and to spot errors in the cipher text.

So now that we know a great deal about how the cipher and the decoder grid works, we should be able to translate any new ciphers fairly easily. So let's decode the Dr. T's latest cipher. §

Is this why Gereno was so interested in Bigfoot? He was trying to create one in a lab? But for what purpose? As a weapon? As a test subject? To eat?
Matt to Hook up with Nate
So Matt's big news is that he is going to go to Florida to meet up with Nate. This is why solving the M-A-R-A logins were important. If Matt talked to Nate before we figured it out, Matt would be able to get the passwords for us. Matt hasn't told us when he's going, or really even any details about the trip. I guess secrecy is important, but at the same time, if you don't tell anyone your secrets and you are killed in some freak accident involving a mime, a turkey and a box of donuts, your secrets die with you. And how does that help anyone?
Recap #5
Finally one of the most pressing questions over the past few weeks has been answered. Dr. T has died (although, we never were able to find out how he died). Now John is quite upset at Dr. G., who has grown so bold he's now openly threatening John. I'd start to wonder when John was gonna take out Dr. G, but the M-A-R-A evidence suggests he survives past John's death. In other news, M-A-R-A seems to recover more cryptozoology stuff than they do military relics (or are they one in the same?) And Jon Paine is still missing, although not from lack of wishing by Sun-Yi.

Sites we've visited: (since the last recap) none

Things that are unsolved:
  • Will Derek ever figure out women people?
  • Is Amie a murderer?
  • Why is Genero studying Bigfoot?
  • Who will win the video contest?
  • Will Matt survive his trip to Florida?
February 23rd and Onwards >>

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