Riddle Of The Ender
RIDDLE OF THE ENDER
The door was stone and it had seemed to be powered by technology from the early 21st century, and thus unbreakable by Jayce's virtual lock-picking skills. It also had no visible locks that Artemus could pick. They could have tried to find the circuit in the walls but with Kanith lost, no one had the knowledge to handle it. However there was no way this room is meant to be a death trap, which meant there had to be a way out within the room.
Viper started searching around the entire room and they quickly found a few clues. A torch and an olden radio was placed on the desk for the team to examine. There were other locked cupboards but had no keys available. The radio had a wire but no power supply which prompted the team to search for one.
"There's no way there's a power dependent radio in the room with no power supply. Keep looking, guys." Ornelas commanded.
Jayce shifted the locked cupboards aside and found a small tunnel that turned left. The tunnel was perfectly squared and was cramped in size, comfortable enough for a small female and packed for a male of an average build. Logically the team had Rissa crawl into it, only to find it leading to an end. However it wasn't dead end. There was a circuit board with single circular sockets for wires to be plugged in and lights at the side that were out.
The grief for Kanith had grown further, based on the wish he was here to solve it in seconds.
Rissa continued to examine the circuit board while Ornelas was examining the radio. Jayce searched below eye level and managed to find a power outlet out of the line of sight.
"That. Is that a power outlet? I'm not very good with old technology." he pointed. Artemus held the wire of the radio and plugged it in. It was a perfect fit.
"It seems so." Artemus smiled. Ornelas tried turning on the radio but to no avail. The outlet had neither power nor a switch. Jayce theorized that the circuit board powers up the room and thus needed it to be turned on. The rest agreed while Ling, who was flipping through the beds, found a key hidden under the mattress. She quickly passed it to the team and they were delighted at the first sign of hope in escaping the room.
"Wow, look who actually did something useful for once." Artemus remarked snidely.
"Hey, there's no need for these now. We gotta work together." Ornelas persuaded, while calming down Ling. There were a dozen locks in the room and so they had to try for every one of them until it fit into one.
A click sound caught the attention of all the members in the room. They spun around. One of the cupboard drawers was unlocked.
Jayce pulled the drawer open and inside of it were two wires and another key. He quickly grabbed the wires and crawled into the tunnel, passing it into Rissa who was now covered in sweat and dust. She had speculated that it required 4 wires connected to 8 ports in the correct position to power it up. Meanwhile, Ornelas took the other key and managed to unlock one of the loose chests in the room.
The air was getting thinner by the second with 5 people in the room fighting for oxygen. It wasn't long before they realized that the room was air tight and they were running out of time.
The chest opened to reveal a few papers about codes like Binary, Morse, Caesar Cipher, etc. and a smaller box inside of it. It had a pad lock with 4 turnable wheels with numbers 1 to 9 on it. Jayce had crawled back out of the tunnel to help examine the contents of the chest. Ornelas quickly tossed the papers aside and remarked it was for the military of the past to encode their messages before transmission.
Seeing as the pad lock had no keyholes, it was out of Artemus' depth to pick. Ornelas decided to help Rissa with the circuit board to figure out the 8 correct ports while Jayce took a closer look around the small box and found a piece of paper stuck to it. It had a statement on it:
THE END OF ONE WHO ENDED 0xA7D8C0 THAT ENDED THE ENDER
"Even if this place is secret, weird as hell the riddle is in English. Anyone has any weird conspiracy guesses?" Artemus joked.
In the tunnel, Rissa explained her discoveries to Ornelas.
"Each wire has two ends, when both ends connect to two correct ports, the corresponding light lights up. When all four lights light up, that's when the power is on." she explained.
"Well, we only have two wires now. We have to make use of these two to try and find the 8 correct ports with trial and error. Then when the others find the other two wires we'll be able to turn it on faster." Ornelas said. Rissa agreed and they started working on it.
Artemus and Ling read the riddle and all three of them went into deep thought.
"First of all. 0xA7D8C0, that's code for sure. What can it mean?" Ling thought to herself out loud.
"That's not code. It's an alternate number system called Hexadecimal. We need to convert it back into our Decimal number system." Jayce analyzed while grabbing papers and a pen they found in one of the unlocked drawers. He started writing out numbers and explaining the Hexadecimal system to them.
"Our number system is called Decimal, it ranges from 0 to 9. After 9 it resets into the next level, turning into 10. Hexadecimal runs all the way to 0 to 9 then from A to F, giving it 16 digits before it resets to the next level. So the digits in front would be equal to how many times it had reset and the last digit would be the remainder." Jayce explained while writing.
Artemus had slowly caught on while Ling was left utterly dumbfounded.
"An example. 45 in the Decimal system. Decimal system has 10 digits so how many times will it reset and what remainder will it have left?" Jayce taught.
"Four times, it'll have a remainder of 5." Artemus answered.
"That's right, which is why we put the digit 4 in front and the digit 5 last. It's the same for Hexadecimal. It has 16 digits, how many times will it reset and what remainder will it have left?" Jayce asked, this time to Ling.
"Um... twice? I guess it'll have a remainder of 13?" Ling muttered doubtfully.
"You bloody idiot. There's no 13, it's D. Since after 9 it turns into A, B, C, then D." Artemus scolded.
Jayce chuckled in secret before praising Artemus.
"That's right, so 45 would be 2D in Hexadecimal. Now, we don't have a calculator, so we have to manually work out what 0xA7D8C0 is in Decimal." Jayce left the calculation to them as he went back to the riddle.
The end of one who ended. That would mean death, he thought to himself. The death of someone who ended a huge amount of lives then? Jayce scratched his head over the riddle while reading the second part of it.
"That ended the Ender. Suggests the person in question isn't just any murderer, but had ended large amounts of live purposefully. Like a genocide?" he mumbled to himself. Names started popping into his mind as time flew by.
Viper started to gasp for air every now and then as the oxygen was running dangerously low. Sweat was dripping from every member profusely as Artemus wrote away on the paper which was now stained with both ink and perspiration. Ornelas and Rissa squeezed together in the tunnel but did not mind the diaphoresis from each other as they depended on one another for their own survival.
"ELEVEN MILLION!" Artemus exclaimed while standing up. Jayce immediately kickstarted his brain.
"Someone who committed a genocide... killed eleven million people..." Jayce started slapping his own head as he knew this was familiar but the name was not forming in his mind. Artemus started thinking but was unable to think of anyone as there weren't any wars, conflicts and genocides from almost two centuries.
"Technology here is old. It could be referring to someone from history. Really way back." once these words came out of Jayce's mouth, he immediately jumped up with the look of Eureka and snatched the small box. He started turning the numbers on the lock excitedly while Artemus and Ling were confused.
"Adolf... bloody... Hitler!" Jayce said while turning the lock, seemingly with all his strength. The lock clicked open with the passcode 1945 and he flipped the cover open.
The hope was reignited as its contents revealed to contain two more wires. Artemus quickly passed the wires to Ornelas and Rissa, who had figured out the eight correct ports. They quickly plugged them in and Jayce flipped through the rest of the content. It had contained a world map before The Fever and a remote control. As they pondered over it, the circuit board lit up and the entire room's power turned back on.
The stone door slid open loudly and the radio clicked.
The circuit board and not only turned on the power supply to the radio but also opened the door. Their delight was short-lived was they saw that the open door led to another locked room. Viper slowly strolled into it and examined around. The stone door was not powered by the same technology as compared to the other doors and thus did not self-destruct upon passing.
The second room had an air vent in the ceiling but was entirely out of reach. It had tables and chairs, much like the first room but one thing was different - it had a massive, heavy safe the corner of the room.
The exit of the room was locked tight and unbreakable.
"Whoever left this room previously locked it shut from outside. We're gonna have to find another way open this door by force." Artemus said while examining the lock on the exit. He had run out of explosives from battling Beasts.
"Oh well. More puzzles to solve." Ornelas remarked.
END OF CHAPTER 6