Great to hear that you have some experience with these! I’ve only ever done one a long time ago in a GamePro magazine (the answer was “syzygy”) although I’ve always had a love for puzzles and a love for challenges. This one has definitely tested my limits, though!
I agree that it seems a bit against the flow of the ARG, especially since we are assuming with this new information that we went from a flawed OTP (that was encoded to actually allow us to solve it) right to a double-encode with modern ciphers. I mean, it’s possible, but it seems odd.
Is it possible that the information in this message is meant to tell us what the encode is not, rather than what it is? Perhaps by following the clues, it will allow us to pare down what ciphers we shouldn’t use, and lead us to what we should use. I was reading some of the old posts, and I realized this page was mentioned: http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/en/download.htm
That’s where we originally found the SECOM decoder, and Storm had let us right to it in a message he sent me. Now, the SECOM decoder doesn’t seem to be there anymore, and the one named Krypta that was based on ARC4 is no longer there either. Anyway, my point is that we always had the tools we needed to move forward, and now it’s like we’re having to create our own or rely on potentially flawed methods. I think maybe we should look for more hints. For example, Storm stated in that message that every message we get from the ARG creator is meant to help us, and that there will be a hidden message in any reply we get. I think we should take that to heart and take another look at everything. Even though this feels like a breakthrough, we are still kind of at odds with what we need to do.
I’ll take another look at everything a bit later when I get home, and see if there’s anything else I can pick out. I mean, it would be great if it is telling us exactly what we need, but at the same time I wonder if it’s to tell us what not to use. If you look at the actual message, he offers up some other encryption methods, and mentions specifically that SSH is likely not involved (which would exclude the whole Whirr thing, right?)
Anyway, it’s still at a halt, it seems, but I hope we are at least making some progress after so many years of a standstill. I really want to avoid us stagnating again, especially because it got our hopes up (mine, at least).
EDIT: Had a bit more fun with anagrams:
If you take Storm’s second most recent reply, you’ll notice that a bunch of the sentences start with lowercase letters. So, I took the capital letters from the beginning of the sentences, along with the capital E from English and L from Latin. You can make a couple things that make sense with this:
A TITLE WITH
LATE WITH IT
If you add in his most recent reply, you can get two more capital letters: G and S. This possibly produces:
GATE WITH LIST
THAT TWIG LIES (is Stone a twig? Lol)
Anyway, it’s all probably just nonsense, and is probably confirmation bias because I picked out things that lined up with ARG themes. But at least it was fun.
EDIT 2: If you go back and look at all the messages Storm sent before these two messages, take the capital letters at the beginning of sentences from those, you get:
T S A H I I T W U I L
You can make some things from this, one of which is:
I IS WITH TAU
If you add in the lowercase “o” that begins one of the sentences, you can get:
Meh, these are stretching it a bit, but he did say in a message to me that an ARG creator never gets involved unless it’s to drop off a hidden message:
“Take a look deeply at every single message that is given. Even if it looks like a simple response, it WILL have something hidden within it. ARG authors never usually respond to questions for ARGs, as it breaks immersion and the general rules, so if they do, it will be to give a clue.”
Wishful thinking probably, and it doesn’t really add anything even if it is legitimate, but it’s fun anyway.