The effort was worth it, however, as together we managed to crack the first major gambit laid out by the mysterious Tweeter "WhiteRabbitYT". But lets start from the beginning: like many good stories, this one begins on Valentine's day.
On "Corporate Forced Love Day" a number of us over at unFiction received a mysterious message from a secret admirer:
Nice, isn't it? Well... it would be nicer if Forest weren't a dead guy.My name is F.F.E.Y.-T. and I would like[with my friends] to wish you a good day.
Just a little something to let you know you are being thought of.
And will be thought of again this year...
Forest Frederic Edward Yeo-Thomas
Forest Frederick Edward Yeo-Thomas (1902-1964) was quite a guy: captured by the Russians during the Polish Soviet War; he strangled a guard in order to escape, after this he worked in a stylish French fashion house before becoming an interpreter for the Free French Forces. He didn't work this job for very long before being whisked away to be a secret agent, parachuted into occupied France to help the French resistance coordinate attacks against German forces. After returning to Britain he wangled a meeting with the PM managed to convince Churchill to help fund the French resistance. In 1944 he once again parachuted into occupied France, but was betrayed by one of his men and captured by the Gestapo. Tortured and imprisoned; he organised a revolt amongst the prisoners and briefly escaped. Upon recapture he passed himself off as a French national and was transferred to a prison near Marienburg. Once again he managed to escape and make it back to the Allied forces. After the war he was a witness at the Nuremberg Trials.
Its quite a life to hi-jack. Experience tells me that it is not random that the PM has chosen this important character as his pseudonym and there are numerous connections which have already been made: FFEYT has a habit of quoting Mary Shelley and Byron; "Shelley" was a pseudonym the real FFEYT went under whilst in occupied France. "White Rabbit" was also another codename the real guy went by; which is how we found the character's twitter account (also worth noting that a "trailhead" or starting point for an ARG is often called a "Rabbit Hole").
FFEYT has been communicating mainly through Twitter up until now, through cryptic tweets about "P.M", the day of the water in the street and endless poetry. After a bit of brainboxing we worked the tweets lead to "Rue de Eaux" or "Street of Water"- a reference to the location of FFEYT's death and so this lead to the date of his death: 26th February. We waited with bated breath for the 26th to come around and for the promised "Gauntlet" to be thrown down.
On the 26th, those who had sent FFEYT an email received a .wmv file in response: the video showed a number of different images and challenged the watcher to "find" him. At the start of the video, there were scrolling numbers running across the screen from top to bottom: 4369605441. Simply googling the number lead to http://www.flickr.com/photos/blinkofaneye/4369605441/ - and at the bottom of this page we find that WhiteRabbitYT had favourited the picture; allowing us to view his saved images.
When: The White Rabbit
If you look carefully, you can see some text in white over the Rabbit's eye; thats binary. It translates to 20th April 1798. Fairly easy for a beginning question, don't you think? There was also another code embedded in the picture which translated to "QTR" - we don't know the relavence of this yet.
Who: The Letter Grid
The letters in the grid spell out:
"NATO ACCOLSI GALVANI E PIANSI ESTINTO. PER LUI FU L'UNO ALL'ALTRO POLO AVVINTO - GALVANUM EXCEPI NATUM LUXIQUE PEREMPTUM CUIUS AB INVENTO IUNCTUS UTERQUE POLUS"Which translates to: "I received the newborn Galvani; I cried him dead / He held together both the electric poles." The numbers at the bottom translate to the coordinates 49.6 N, 84.6 W - which leads us to a crater on the moon: Galvani. The who was Luigi Galvani.
Where: The Parrots
This is the one which stumped us. We knew they were parrots and they might be on fire or something... The tagline to the picture reads: "Names, collectively, have power..." which lead us to believe it had something to do with the collective noun for parrots; which we could only find to be "Company".
I TinyEyed the background and found it was a well used image of Hell. Meanwhile, String, a relatively new player, popped in an informed us that another name for a group of parrots was a "Pandemonium" - Pandemonium was the name for the capitol city of Hell in Paradise Lost - our where was Pandemonium.
Ofiuco contacted FFEYT with our answers and he confirmed they were correct. Seems Ofiuco will now be receiving a package with the next set of clues! FFEYT tweeted that we should wait for more information and expect an update on "White Day" - 14th March.
Last night was very fun, and working as a team to put together all the clues really felt good. I can't wait to see what other twists and turns might be lying just around the corner for us. This game reminds me of Ministry of Argon in its twistyness and that was one hell of a ride; this game is shaping up to be awesome on a whole new scale. Bring on March.
The game can be followed at the unFiction thread here.
Or you can contact FFEYT directly at firstname.lastname@example.org