The plot thickens, like corn starch

You guys remember Norton I, right? First Emperor of America, Protector of Mexico, paved the way for the trans-SF/Oakland Bay Bridge, recently returned from the dead to begin blogging? Right. I didn’t realize I was getting myself into something strange when I offhandedly linked to the zombie blog a few weeks ago, and I didn’t pay much heed to the occasional cryptic comments that were posted here as a result. But Saturday I received an email telling me that there was a communication waiting for me at Kaihim Makuhari station, right next to the Makuhari Messe where TGS transpires. I guess maybe I’ve watched too much Alias, but when I start getting dead drops while travelling abroad it’s hard to ignore.

I was informed that the documents were waiting under the baseball shrub beneath the astroturf at the foot of a pink duck. Since I was between interviews and didn’t feel like slogging through the thick Saturday crowds to try and do any hands-on previews, I decided to check it out. Despite not having the slightest idea what a “baseball shrub” is.

Oh, right. Turns out Kaihim Makuhari is also the stop for the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball team. Yesterday they were playing the Nippon Ham Fighters, which is the best name for a sports team this side of the Rainbow Warriors. I’m pretty sure Ham Fighters was a 16-bit TMNT knock-off by Natsume. I’ll be sure to watch for it next time I’m in Akihabara.

I guess this would be the pink duck. I’m not sure why they chose the pink one over the one in pinstripes. Maybe so they could lay in wait and take pictures of me bending over and appearing to look like I’m peeping up the skirts of a plastic duck.

Yes, thumbs up to you, too, all dressed for the sock hop. And yeah, it turns out there was a small square of astroturf beneath its feet, held down by the statue’s weight but not secured around the edges.

Clearly, someone thinks they’re very clever.

If only I were clever enough to figure out what this is supposed to mean. The inmates are running the asylum, perhaps?

35 thoughts on “The plot thickens, like corn starch

  1. you know what’s funny? my girlfriend went with a bunch of my old JET buddies to see that game. she told me that she thought of going to TGS for me, but figured there was no point.

  2. Otacon wouldn’t be very helpful here. We already know that Norton I has been dead for a hundred years.

  3. This means that you should never, ever watch “Naked Lunch” if you’re within six hours of having to go to bed. It’s just not a good call.

    In other news, the weird ass-talking roach thing is telling me that if you want us to play along it would probably be good to photo-blog the whole of the puzzle.

  4. Spoilsport that I am, I should point out that they’re not the Ham Fighters of Nippon, but rather the Fighters under the direction of Nippon Ham. Still an awesome name though.

  5. What’s this? A picture of a pink duck!
    *flips photo over*
    “Do not believe its lies”
    CLearly Paul Bunyun is behind this.

  6. Ooh, very nice. This keeps getting better. I’ve forwarded this on the the Discoveries and Intrigue blog where someone was collecting clues, though there haven’t been new posts there recently. The Norton blog itself currently has up a slightly annoying puzzle about reconstructing an email address from SF trivia. The COuncil of American Liberties blog is trying to plant subliminal messages about his dogs. Fascinating.

  7. Recently confidential and private information regarding our company was published on this site. It is with the greatest importance that anyone connected with this leak immediately provides us with all information regarding the contact, especially his/her name and phone number. You will be compensated if you act quickly.

    With the sincerest of regards,

    The Council for American Liberties

  8. If the person responsible for this was sharp, he would have hidden the important ‘this is not astroturf’ note there

    -How did you even come across that blog(norman the 1st) in the first place?!
    -Did you look around after you picked up the note?
    -Are you pulling our leg, and really just hyping us for touch detective from Atlus? ;)

  10. Michael: It looks to me like the “bush” is actually a bunch of small plants stuck to a sphere, making the stripe less impressive. Still cool, though.

    Durandal: Oh, stop hiding behind your data corruption and come out and play.

    Council: Your Initiative seems to have lost its stylesheet. But that may be wordpress’s problem.

  11. I like Atlus, but Touch Detective is no great shakes. I only shill for awesome games.
    Seriously though, I came across mention of Norton I’s blog on a San Franisco blog. I have no idea if this is viral marketing or an attempt at an ARG, but I do appreciate their efforts to follow me to Japan. It was thoughtful, in an alarming stalkerish kind of way.

  12. today there is a new album by Richard Cheese, lounge cover artist extraordinare, in stores. Among his cover tracks this time is The Trees, by Rush. The spit on the grave of prog rock, or the genesis of a new movement? Make of it what you will.

  13. Looks like some sort of unix/linux process listing, sorta, just sorted by effective process IDs (EID), date and time. Except its way too specific with its action listings from a normal ps command print out.

  14. Let’s try and sort out the sequence of events here:

    This all takes place on April 12th, from 3:15 PM to 4:07.

    I am assuming EID stand for employee ID.

    Employee 44 exits Lab 1, door 2. Employee 44 enters the supply center, and checks out something with the code BI492459-X00A, then leves, goes back in the way he came and turns on a computer, security, data or power system.

    Employee 85 enters room 307, logs on to a computer and is granted access after (presumably, it’s cut off) passing some kind of biometric scan– perhaps a thumbprint or retinal scan?

    Employee 47 leaves room 16 through door 1.

    Employee 85 starts an application on the computer called Anayltrac

    Employee 47 enters Lab 4A using door 2.

    The computer/security/power/data sytem Employee 44 turned on records some sort of data or record collection. Then employee 44 asks for the power schedule for a different system.

    Employee 85 shuts down the Anylatrac program, then runs a calutor prgrams, an email program, and a web browser.

    Someone from outside the building or employee system calls into the control room. Employee 85 picks up the phone, hanging it up a few seconds later (was answered at 8 seconds after 3:30PM, hung up 47 seconds later, just long enough for a few short sentences).

    Employee 93 makes a manual request for a phone log, number 19. Eight minutes later, employee 93 overrides the main door to the control room (not sure what it controls) and presumably enters.

    Employee 85 closes the calclator program.

    Employee 93 now overrides the locks on the door to Lab 4A ,door (cut off) from the control room. This is the same Lab Employee 47 is in.

    Employee 12 enters the facility at the same time Employee 85 closes his email and web browsing program (unsure what, if any, sites 85 visited or email was sent) and then logs out of the computer he was using.

    Employee 12 acesses the elevator and takes it to floor 3, entering room 301 just as Employee 85 is leaving the computer room (307).

    Employee 93 overrides (something in Lab 4A, disables (!) something in lab 4A (an alarm, maybe?), and then overrides something on the main door of the facility.

    Some heretofore unmentioned employee (#19) leaves lab 4a through door 2.

    Finally, after spending almost 25 minutes in room 301 (doing what? taking things? snooping around? playing darts?), employee 12 leaves room 301, then the building.


    What the heck is so special about Lab 4a?

  15. Well, since Shawn’s doing so much analysis here, I’ll point out that employee ID 47 is almost certainly Norton, or at least who the Council for American Liberties *believes* is Norton. The person who left this record for Jeremy appears to by yet another party that the Council is now referring to as “The Fool”; not clear whether he’s one of these employees or not. I’ve been leaving more notes over in the comments at the blog, though it hasn’t been updating.

  16. My oddball thought was that #47 (Norton) and #19 are the same person, and that #93’s various technical circumventions were aimed at disguising #47 as #19. (Presumably because #19 has access [and escape] privileges that Norton was never granted.) But this theory depends on #19 being totally absent from the rest of the log, which isn’t confirmed by the fragment given.

  17. My question is how do you guys know this isn’t some sort of distraction or deliberate misdirection? I’m kind of serious. I don’t think that pink duck would have been used as a drop point unless it had some sort of meaning itself. Just look at its eyes. An easily overlooked illusion. There’s paradoxal placement of the irises in the eyes and pupils in the irises. I think you guys have been duped. The pink duck pooped bad information into your eyes. Maybe that was the point? Getting you to take bad info seriously, evaluate, analyze, and introduce false information meant to conflict with other information that has already been collected?

  18. My money’s on it being that rat, Kohler, or the Ewok hut-based Sharkey. They must be the masterminds.

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