Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Groby

We're on our way to the Western Inn in Lakeview. When we arrive, we see a member of Game Control outside the lobby. He hands us three things:

A large envelope labeled "UFO Detection Kit." Inside is a large piece of string and a grid of letters with three of them circled. At the bottom it says "Ask for Linda"

A triangle and a bag of random items. The triangle tells us not to let "them" know we received it, but to offer items in the bag to Game Control as we go along, so that they don't suspect us.

A set of rings, one reading "DEWEY" with some black marks on the back, a weird piece of plastic, a cryptic poem, and 5 pairs of colored paper (Green, Red, Orange, Blue, and Yellow) with trivia questions. According to the poem, the device is called a "Groby."

The first two aren't relevant for a while. We mull over them, but ultimately realize they are of no use right now. We decide to get food, since it is now late in the afternoon, and look at these trivia questions. We are able to answer most of them, though we eventually decide to go to Starbucks across the street for wifi so that we can look up the couple of difficult ones.

There's two things we notice quickly; the pairs of questions come in two forms. One is word answers, such as "Quiddich Captain Diggory that dies." The other is numeric answers. The second thing we notice is that the first answer on one of the sheets is "Dewey." We come to the conclusion that we must write the answers to each color sheet along the front of the ring.

We also notice that on the back of the "Dewey" ring, the black marks correspond to the binary representation of the first answer on the like color of paper (that is, Dewey was the first yellow answer, I think. The first yellow number answer was the number on the back of that ring).

Meanwhile, the rings all fit into a plastic contraption we were given. The plastic contraption lines the rings up to form two five-letter words on one side, and a 5x5 grid of circles on the other. One of our teammates notes that the poem has exactly two five letter words on each line... interesting.

We fill out both sides of the rings, and arrange them so that they spell the words on the first line. We have some contention over whether there should be exactly 32 letters on each ring, filling every space, or 31, leaving one blank. We eventually consult with a nearby team after some negotiations. We compare answers to the colored sheets, and they are adamant that each ring should be 32 characters long.

We rush back, set the rings up to spell the first two 5 letter pairs, and look at the back. The filled in spaces that were binary numbers now look like a "#". Hmm... we continue..


We're confused by the I... but we realize one of our answers was wrong on a ring! I hastily begin to fix the ring and re-set up the Groby. Game Control calls. As they ask us how we're doing, I'm nearly done setting up the Groby. I hear the other end of the conversation....

"So far we have #ARABN I or T S."
"Guys! It's a T!"
"Game Control says it's a T"

Fine. Anyway, they ask us what we thing that is, and we joke "Number of Arabian Non-Terminals?" No, Arabian Nights. Duh. We know this.

We dial "1001" in the Illumine hotline and get the next recorded message. "Go to Percival's Landing Tower in Olympia." Right! We're off to Olympia!

We make it to the tower, and find another team climbing the stairs and blocking some activity in the hole between the spiral stairs. A member of Game Control walks up. We have to wait. Our clock will be stopped, and he recommends we go get some food and come back in half an hour. We lay back, and relax.

We would later find out the secret of the Groby's name. We had noticed the five letter pairs early and figured out the right combination to spell them. It turns out the name was a clue: GreenRedOrangeBlueYellow: GROBY. Awesome.


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