Author Topic: CTI: Crime Team Investigation  (Read 14407 times)

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #540 on: 09 Aug 2020, 11:50 »
The tech team scours the internet but finds nothing Stephen King related on Beelive. After hours of searching through usernames and profiles, they determine that there's no connection to our case there.

Officer Leland checks out Sycamore Close but finds nothing. He calls the chief, worried things are taking too long. The chief agrees.

The chief addresses you all with a distinct note of urgency in his voice. "Alright folks, we need to get to the bottom of this. I want you to go through that last call line by line and see if anything jumps out at you." He prints out a copy of the transcript and pins it to his door.


Quote
Oh you think you've spoiled my climax?

All good plans contain a failsafe so they will be successful!

Once I get out of here, I'll put a stop to the destruction of the master's work, believe it!

Kidnapping and murder are just the start, there is so much to take care of!

Just watch me!

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #541 on: 09 Aug 2020, 13:37 »
Spoiler: ShowHide



Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #542 on: 09 Aug 2020, 17:59 »
This is driving me nuts....
The only thing I notice is that each line has an odd number of words,
a coincidence ?
Maybe the clue is found in the passage between the words „start“ and „stop“,
I am giving up at this point....
Map for reference:

« Last Edit: 09 Aug 2020, 20:15 by Ian Aloser »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #543 on: 10 Aug 2020, 01:54 »
The Chief's words about getting to the bottom and seeing if anything jumps out makes my mind drift towards Shudder Lake. But alas, I can't find it in the phone message. Can anyone see something related to the only body of water on the map?  ???

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #544 on: 10 Aug 2020, 08:27 »
Heltenjon, looks like we are the last two fighters left.
I had a similar idea about Shudder Lake, especially when our Chief
arranged the last phonecall (fishing)line by (fishing)line.
However, I am absolutely clueless, I have a textdocument containing the transcript and
the wierdest possible combinations of letters following the beginning/end hint, but to no avail.

Don't you think that due to the fact that there are 5 lines and each line would give two letters,
the clue we are looking for should be made from 10 letters ?

There is a number of places on the map that consist of 10 letters, I just don't get it.


Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #545 on: 10 Aug 2020, 09:04 »
The chief stumbles out of his office, drunk beyond belief. He staggers around the room, bumping into walls and knocking things off desks, all while muttering to himself incoherently.

"... beginnings and endings... line by line... map, map, they never mentioned a map, I'M NOT A MAP... backwards, so many backwards clues... Annie McGee, Annie McGee, I won't let you get ahold of me... endings and beginnings..."

Eventually the chief passes out on the floor while a rookie calls for first aid.

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #546 on: 10 Aug 2020, 10:46 »
Heltenjon, looks like we are the last two fighters left.

I'm still here, I just don't have anything to share because I'm completely clueless :(

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #547 on: 10 Aug 2020, 10:54 »
Good to know, Laura !
I am hopelessly lost at this.
The only thing I could guess is that the chief would be drunk soon :-))
EDIT: I am still playing with the thought that she wants us to watch her somewhere.
(Just watch me at the BOTTOM of the transript and believe it two lines above)
I was sure we could find something through BeeLive, but we didn't.
However, there is also a streaming tool named be.Live , maybe she is trying to lead us to a streaming platform.
Any ideas ?
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2020, 12:51 by Ian Aloser »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #548 on: 10 Aug 2020, 14:22 »
The IT gremlins scour every video streaming site and every form of social media, looking for any fingerprints of the killer. They present a report where they are confident that there is no information online connected to the case, and while they are not detectives themselves they are of the opinion that the clue contained in the last call is most likely solvable using just the transcript and the other hints that have been dug up.

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #549 on: 10 Aug 2020, 15:49 »
Ian, looking at the hints I'm fairly sure each line contains a part of the solution, probably at the start and end of each sentence. Maybe it needs to be read from bottom to top, maybe backwards, I don't know. I haven't found anything that would make a slightest bit of sense but the awkward wording can't be a coincidence.

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #550 on: 10 Aug 2020, 17:34 »
Yes, Kastchey, I have the same feeling, but just don't get it.
"Beginning ist the End" tells me that there are 2 letters to be found per line,
making it a 10 letter location, providing that we are actually looking for a location.
I tried so many combinations, e.g. last letter of first word in the line plus first letter
of last word in the line, but to no avail. Maybe my approach is totally wrong or probably I didn't see it
(Remember Schaalburg, where it took days until Laura suddenly got it).
If it is only one letter per line than it would have to be KERRY.
I also divided each line into a left and a right portion, skipping the word in the middle, but could not see a thing.
(All lines have an odd number of words )

Quote
Oh you think you've spoiled my climax?

All good plans contain a failsafe so they will be successful!

Once I get out of here, I'll put a stop to the destruction of the master's work, believe it!

Kidnapping and murder are just the start, there is so much to take care of!

Just watch me!
Anyway, here are the 10 letter locations I found on the map, I don't think I missed one:

SCHAALBURG
WEEPY GROVE
LEITH ACRES
UNDERFIELD
ROCHESTOWN
ALDRIN WALK

Hope that someone is better at this than me ....
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2020, 17:45 by Ian Aloser »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #551 on: 10 Aug 2020, 18:01 »
Ah FUCK.

Ian, you were looking in the wrong place the whole time because the Chief said "map, map, they never mentioned a map, I'M NOT A MAP".

The first and last letters of each sentence, read backwards, spell eJfKtOlAxO.

JFK to LAX.

I don't know what the remaining O and E could be, but she's flying to L.A. from JFK airport!!! She's probably thinking of blowing up the offices of the company that's making the film!

Potential Solution: Call all police stations available in the JFK area and send all units we can get our hands on to JFK airport with her description. Ground all flights. Let's get this bitch.
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2020, 18:09 by Laura Hunt »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #552 on: 10 Aug 2020, 18:30 »
WOW LAURA !!!!!!!
I never would have guessed LAX, since I don't know that this stands for L.A. Airport.
That is why I excluded the letter x immediately, since it is only found in the Industrial Complex, which we already searched.
Great Job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2020, 18:35 by Ian Aloser »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #553 on: 10 Aug 2020, 20:30 »
THE KS CASE

EPILOGUE

Leland scanned the departures lounge for the hundredth time. As soon as the word had come in from HQ that the killer would be flying from JFK, he insisted on being part of the stakeout. He wasn't worried about the crime situation back home, it was a peaceful neighborhood at the best of times and with a crazed killer on the loose all the residents were on their best behaviour. He had jumped in a prowler and floored it all the way to NYC with the lights and sirens blasting. He was going to do everything he could to catch this maniac. As the only officer still standing who had ever actually seen this killer in the flesh, he wasn't going to miss this.

Local NYPD officers were stationed throughout the airport, keeping an eye out for anyone matching the description of Annie McGee. With the reduced travel thanks to our friendly neighborhood coronavirus, it was much less crowded than usual, but there were still hundreds of travelers on the premises. The TSA decided that the evidence wasn't strong enough to conclusively confirm that Miss McGee was coming to JFK, so they weren't willing to ground any flights. Thankfully the foot traffic had reduced enough that they were able to close every security checkpoint but one. If Annie was getting on a plane, she'd HAVE to go through the section that Leland was looking at right now.

Leland's desire to catch this criminal was intense. Hell, it wasn't a desire. He NEEDED to catch her. He'd only been on the force a little more than a year, but he'd experienced more hardship than most officers experience in their entire careers. Leland had seen the damage Collins had sustained from that first bomb blast. He had seen the terror in Garret Hawthorne's eyes, after his family was taken from him and he had been tied up and left for dead in his own bathroom. Leland had watched as his partner and friend, Ullman, had been set upon with an axe while they rescued Deborah and Tommy Hawthorne. Leland had been on the scene when they pulled Alex Pelton out of that abandoned car, and he'd been the one to spot that old barbecue where they found the goddamn Drew Barrymore picture.

The thing that stuck with Leland most though, was the look on Sergeant Pangborn's face when he told Leland to evacuate everyone from the area surrounding that house in Schaalburg. Pangborn, stuck on that booby-trapped staircase, had known that there was a good chance that Leland was the last person he'd ever see, and as his potential last act he had tried to protect the public and protect Leland. Leland wasn't going to let Pangborn's sacrifice go to waste.

Something among the crowd caught Leland's eye. It wasn't a particular movement or image, just his gut that told him that there was something off about the view. He quickly scanned the crowd, and his eyes settled on a person who was walking away from Leland, towards the security checkpoint. It was a woman in black clothing, her hood pulled up. Nothing particularly unusual about her, apart from the fact that it seemed like she was wearing slightly warm clothes for the summertime. She wasn't kitted out in black leather, studs, and straps, so it wasn't a punk or goth fashion statement. It was just an all-black set of clothes. Was it the same set of clothes he had seen the killer wearing in the abandoned hotel? It was impossible to tell for sure but... maybe. Leland began to walk towards the security checkpoint.

As he got closer to the checkpoint, the queuing travelers started to obscure his view as they all squashed together. He craned his neck to look around and over the heads of the bystanders to try and keep an eye on the woman. She was just walking through the metal detector now. She had pulled her hood down as requested by the TSA agents, but Leland still didn't have a good angle on her face. It looked like her only piece of baggage was a small backpack. Leland thought back to the plans he had found in the basement of Annie's bookstore. The bomb designs might be compact enough to fit in a backpack, and a lot of the components were 3D printed so they wouldn't appear on the X-ray machine. As the woman reached down to pick up her bag, he caught a flash of her face before another passenger blocked his view. The woman had brown hair and a round face, similar to the face he had seen in the photos Annie McGee's parents had given him.

Leland pushed through the queue and approached the TSA agent who had just conducted the check on this woman. The agent told him that the woman had displayed a valid ID, the name was "Charlene Wilkes." Leland clenched his fists, told the TSA agent to send backup after him, and took off in pursuit of the woman. While he had been waiting for instructions from HQ, Leland had been reading Stephen King's books and committing as much of them to memory as he could. He figured this might give him an edge when it came to spotting clues or aliases, and his hunch had paid off. The main female characters of the novels "Misery" and "Firestarter" are Annie Wilkes and Charlene McGee, respectively. If you swap the surnames around, you get Charlene Wilkes and... Annie McGee.

Rounding a corner, Leland saw the woman approaching a departure gate. The screen above the door read, "NON STOP - JFK TO LAX." Below in smaller letters was the message, "LAST CALL - DEPARTURE IMMINENT." Quickening his pace, Leland tried to come up with a way to apprehend her without causing mass panic and distress to the innocent bystanders. While the departure gates weren't exactly thronged with people, there were still a lot of civilians around who would need to be protected. He juggled that with the need to stop Annie getting on the plane, as once she was in the belly of the aircraft it would be suicide to go in after her alone. Waiting for backup was risky too, the plane could begin to taxi before reinforcements arrived. If Annie got wind of the plane being stalled or turned around on the tarmac, she could detonate her bomb and cause hundreds of deaths.

Eventually Leland realised that there was no subtle way to go about this. She was too close to the gate, she'd reach it before he could get to her. He took a deep breath, stopped, placed his hand on his revolver, and shouted. "Annie McGee!"

The woman up ahead stopped mid-step, like someone had hit the pause button on the bubble of air where she was standing. Leland called to her again. "Annie McGee! You are under arrest!"

Very slowly, the woman turned around to face him. Leland's hands trembled as he came face-to-face with the person who had been terrorising his town. It was her, it was Annie without question.

There was twenty feet between them, and about half that to the door of the departure gate. Annie looked at Leland, and Leland tried to work out what was going on behind her eyes. Was she scared that she had been caught? Disappointed that she wouldn't get to go through with her plan? Worried about what would happen to her? Angry that she had been stopped so close to succeeding? Amazingly, the only thing Leland saw in her eyes was a dark emptiness. She hardly seemed to be phased at all.

Annie turned her head to look back at the departure gate, pausing for a moment, as if to consider making a break for it. The member of the airline crew in charge of checking boarding passes had noticed the odd standoff happening in the aisle. It looked like Annie wouldn't be getting onto the plane. Members of the public started to stare from afar at the woman being accosted by the young police officer. Annie slowly turned back to face Leland. She stood motionless, her arms by her sides. Was she about to give in? Leland raised his eyebrows ever so slightly while maintaining eye contact, silently pleading with her, "Please, come quietly."

In a flash, Annie's hands shot up to her backpack straps. Suddenly her bag was on the ground and she began unzipping it. Leland drew his gun and cocked it. He bellowed as loud as he could. "ANNIE! FREEZE RIGHT NOW! I WILL SHOOT!" His words didn't discourage her, still with the same empty look on her face, Annie slipped her hands into her bag. Leland heard a woman to his right scream, and a child somewhere behind him began to cry. He shouted again. "EVERYONE CLEAR THE AREA! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!" He heard the terrified scuttle of dozens of feet moving every which way as the bystanders scattered.

He saw the bomb. Annie had retrieved it from the bag, and it perfectly matched the designs he had seen. He watched as her hand moved across, right to the trigger switch. Leland gazed as deeply into her eyes as he could, desperately searching for a glimpse of sanity, any kind of indication that she wouldn't actually go through with it. All he saw was determination. Right as Annie's finger touched the switch, Leland squeezed the trigger.

With his eyes closed, fearing an imminent blast, Leland waited to feel the shockwave rip through his body. None came. He cracked open his eyes, and saw much the same building as before. The only difference was that, in the time he had had his eyes closed, there was no longer a living, breathing woman standing in front of him. Instead he saw a crumpled heap of limbs dressed in a black outfit lying on the floor.

He approached the person's twisted form, gun still drawn, and examined the scene. The clothes were stained with blood, and the crimson liquid was starting to roll its way steadily across the floor. The bomb was lying just a foot or two away, its corners scuffed by the fall but otherwise undamaged. There was a deep, circular, red gash in the crumpled person's forehead, directly between their eyes. Their eyes that had seemed so empty even when the person was alive, were now devoid of any light whatsoever.

Annie McGee was dead.


* * *

The chief bursts into the station, bags under his eyes, his skin pale, but a grin on his face. "Fantastic work everyone! The bomb squad are on the scene and taking care of business. I am so proud of your success, well done to each and every one of you! I can say with confidence that you are the best squad of detectives that any police department has ever been lucky enough to have. If I'm not mistaken, you managed to act quickly enough to save all but one of the killer's victims. God knows how many would have been killed and injured if you hadn't stopped her from getting on that plane.

"I've just gotten off the phone with our friend Sereant Pangborn, his recovery is going well and he was delighted to hear that his favourite rookie had taken down the killer. He extends his gratitude to you all on behalf of his officers, but he does say you owe his team a box of doughnuts for all the 'little challenges' you subjected them to.

"Your conduct throughout this investigation has been superb. You were led astray a few times but you always came back around and pulled through in the end. I think you have a lot to be proud of, especially because of the multitude of different types of clues, puzzles, and riddles that were thrown your way. You adapted to it all brilliantly! PROMOTIONS ALL ROUND!"

The chief ducks into his office and grabs his reserve bottle of whiskey. He comes back into the bullpen and tosses it in the garbage. "I don't think I'll be needing that anymore. I've been waiting to say this for a long time...

"CASE CLOSED."



Thank you so much to everyone for playing along! You were incredibly good sports. In particular, thanks for encouraging me when it came to the descriptive scenes of tracking down the victims. I hadn't done any creative writing in a long time and I am very grateful that you all accepted me using this game as a way to get back into it.

I apologise for some of the more confusing or illogical puzzles. The Justice Killer puzzles were so tight, I felt I had to experiment a little for this case, and I think I may have dropped the ball a couple of times. If anyone would like to know more about any particular clue, riddle, or plot development, or if you even just want an explanation about something that was unclear to you, please don't hesitate to get in touch! I will be happy to fill you in on anything that you might want to know. I'd also be up for writing a full breakdown of clues/Stephen King references if anyone is interested.

I hope you all enjoyed playing along with this game as much as I enjoyed running it. I couldn't single anyone out for particular merit, you all did such fantastic work and you really came together as a team! It was amazing to watch one person solve the first step of a puzzle, then have another person pick up from there and get a little further, and so on until the solution was discovered. It was also lovely to see that everyone's unique skills were used in different ways, so if one person wasn't good at letter-puzzles and just couldn't make any headway on the current riddle, then they could weigh in with their knowledge of Stephen King to help with the background investigation.

Thank you all so much, this has really been the highlight of my time spent social distancing. In a time when I've been anxious and nervous in general, it was always a great comfort to log on here and be able to interact with you all in such a fun way. Best of luck to anyone who wants to take the reins for another case, I will be eagerly awaiting with my deerstalker hat and cork pipe at the ready!

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #554 on: 10 Aug 2020, 20:59 »
JackPutter, this is/was fantastic !
I will come back tomorrow with a more detailed acknowledgment,
had a few swigs too many!
Thank you so much and cheers until tomorrow!!!
EDIT:
JackPutter, I would like to thank you once again for this great and challenging entertainment.
Like your antecessor Mandle, you really put up something special here.
Your writing was so extraordinary, I could hardly wait for the next chapter to appear.
The riddles were really fair at all times (also for non-native speakers),
the puzzle with the audio file was simply ingenious !!!!
And the passage with the typewriter in McGee's house: Brilliant !
And the funny side-story with our whiskey drinking chief, I KNEW it would have this outcome :-))

The only thing I have to criticise: You raised the bar to such a high level that I can hardly imagine
how someone can come up with a case similar to the one you created here.

It would be nice if you wrote a few lines about how we could have done better (e.g. less injuries ,
I still think that the"jump of the quick brown fox" was related to not stepping on the bomb hidden under the
board in the staircase)
So thank so much you once again, I can imagine how much work you put into this.
And thanks for your patience ( especially with the final puzzle and our endless search for Schaalburg...)

Also, my thanks go to all officers here who contributed their skills to solve this case. It was a great pleasure having
you on my side !!!

I hope this wasn't the last CTI case, I would be happy to be on the team again for future challenges !

Thank you all and Cheers !
 


« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2020, 09:24 by Ian Aloser »

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #555 on: 10 Aug 2020, 23:35 »
 :-D :-D :-D

I'm so relieved!  (laugh) Thanks a lot to JackPutter for a brilliant game, suspenseful writing and fiendishly challenging puzzles!

Also thanks to all who participated. You can see from the amount of readings that more people had a look at this than us who posted the most. Even so, I'll encourage more people to tone in when such a game is taking place. If you're clueless yourself, there's an odd comfort in seeing that there are more would-be-officers out there also trying to crack the case.

Laura, great spotting on the last riddle! I lacked the knowledge necessary to recognize this message and wouldn't have been able to crack it.

Jack, I for one would like to hear about any Easter eggs we haven't commented on, and also a bit about your process in creating this. What would have happened had we sent other officers or made other choices? Did you plan that out?

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #556 on: 11 Aug 2020, 10:27 »
Heltenjon - I'll happily do a breakdown of easter eggs and also describe my process for creating the narrative. I'm in work today (12 hour shift, woo hoo!) so unfortunately I won't be able to do a detailed post today, but I can do a proper deep-dive tomorrow when I have more time.

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #557 on: 11 Aug 2020, 13:17 »
Amazing finale, Jack, congratulations! I've had a rough and busy morning and I'm exhausted so I don't feel like writing much right now, but I wanted to at least say how much I've enjoyed this case even when I was completely lost and clueless. I loved all the official updates, and it was great to work together with the rest of the team towards finding a solution. Thank you so much for everything!

I have a seed of an idea for a future case, but my brain is so tied up right now with my own game and its puzzles that I don't know when I'll be able to try and develop this idea into a full-fledged story. But if I manage to do it, even if it's three months from now, I hope to see you all here again!

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #558 on: 11 Aug 2020, 18:58 »
btw,

Spoiler: ShowHide
It's "fazed", not "phased". Sorryyyyy my inner QA / proofreader compels me :-D

Re: CTI: Crime Team Investigation
« Reply #559 on: 12 Aug 2020, 17:44 »
Ian Aloser - I am really flattered by your kind words, thank you so much! I am very glad you enjoyed it and that you thought the puzzles were fair, I was very worried about that aspect of the game so I am relieved to hear you say that. I'll post a full breakdown of clues etc. below so you can see where you could have done better. I'm glad you enjoyed my writing passages, I wanted to reward everyone for their hard work so writing a little story when you made progress seemed to be a good way to do that.

Laura Hunt - Thank you very much for your praise, I am so happy that you had fun! The typos will haunt me for the rest of my life though! If you do decide to run another game I will be first in line to sign up!

THE BREAKDOWN

THE PREMISE:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Just to spell out the entire story for clarity, Annie McGee was a shy, quiet girl who lost herself in books at an early age and never really learned to socialise. She discovered the books of Stephen King, and revered him as something like a God. She equated his books to a sacred text. She had always been appalled and disgusted at the film adaptations of his work, as they changed and modified the stories so much to the point of blasphemy in her eyes. She had a particular disdain for Mike Flanagan who worked on many Stephen King adaptations, in particular because in his adaptation of Doctor Sleep he used visual references to the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining which King himself is famous for disliking. When she heard that Mike Flanagan was making ANOTHER adaptation, being filmed in her own town no less, she finally snapped and had to put a stop to it. Being the obsessive fan that she was, she was able to find out many of the production's details and she started planning accordingly.

If you know your Stephen King books and movies VERY well, you may have noticed that a lot of the would-be death locations were styled around things that happened in the movie versions, but not the novels. It has been many years since I read some of these books and seen some of these movies, but if I recall correctly I mostly used scenes from the movies that weren't in the films. The white "For Sale" sign with "CARRIE WHITE BURNS IN HELL" written across it is the ending of the 1976 film, but not the book. In the book version of The Shining, Jack Torrence terrorises his family with a kind of croquet mallet, never a fire axe. The evil car in Christine is crushed into a cube at the end of the movie, but is still roaming free when the book comes to a close. These details were to subtly hint that the killer was hung up on the movie versions specifically.


THE MAP:
Spoiler: ShowHide
There's a few Stephen King related places on the map, some of which have been pointed out already. "Joe's Hill," is named after Stephen King's son, whose pen name is Joe Hill. Silver Creek is the name of the town closest to Annie Wilkes's house in Misery, and as I was loosely basing the character of Annie McGee off of Annie Wilkes, it seemed fitting to have that as the place where she was going to be found. I came up with Torrent's Crescent while thinking of the Torrence family from The Shining. Barrymore Place was named after Drew Barrymore who starred in Firestarter. Sheldonville is named after Paul Sheldon, the author who Annie Wilkes takes captive in Misery. Chunningham Centre is named after Arnie Cunningham from Christine.

A lot of the place names are derived from places that I have personal experience with... Sallynoggin Heights, Sycamore Close, Talbot's Inch, Kerry (not actually a reference to Derry from Stephen King's books, but a happy coincidence!), Rochestown, Newpark Centre, and Leith Acres.

There's a few random references thrown in for good measure. Schaalburg and Rumsfield Acres are references to The 'Burbs. Smithers Industrial Complex and New Haverbrook are references to The Simpsons. Aldrin Walk, Armstrong Walk, Tranquility Grove, and Stafford Place are all references to the Apollo space missions. (Based on a real neighborhood near me that has a similar naming convention!)


THE NAMES:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Almost every name has some reference or meaning behind it. As Leland deduced, Annie McGee is a combination of Annie Wilkes and Charline 'Charlie" McGee.

As heltenjon pointed out, the officers in the area are all named after characters from Stephen King's work. Sergeant Pangborn is a name I actually regret a little... I hadn't realised that Sheriff Pangborn was in so many different books, films, and TV series! In fact he's a main character in the Castle Rock TV show that came out a year or two ago, and I had forgotten that he was in The Dark Half too. My only memory of him was Needful Things, which is not one of King's more popular works so I thought it was obscure enough to get away with. I was wrong though, and you realised it immediately! Leland is named after the evil store owner in Needful Things (Leland Gaunt), White is named after Carrie White, Ullman is a named after the hotel manager in The Shining (Stuart Ullman) and Collins is named after Carrie's teacher (called Miss Collins in the movie).

The rest of the names are references to various interests of mine, a lot of them characters or actors from the show Community. Rachel Edison is named after Annie Edison. Garret Hawthorne is named after the characters Pierce Hawthorne and Garret. Alex Pelton is named after the Dean of Students. Daniel Wiseman is named after the director Len Wiseman.


CHAPTER ONE CLUES:
Spoiler: ShowHide
This one was a little sloppy. I was still trying to get the overarching story straight in my head when I posted it, so it's a little out-of-place compared to the other letters. I am still kicking myself for signing the letter KS, that just led to SO much confusion over whether the killer was the King Slayer or not. The idea was that Annie was KILLING the kingslayers, i.e. the people who would butcher the work of her favourite author. I should have put KS in the letter somewhere but not signed it as KS. My bad, folks! I also kind of regret writing it in that messy, jumbled style. It didn't really fit with the idea of Annie being an aspiring writer. I kind of intended it to be purposely misleading, like a smart person trying to write badly on purpose to cover their tracks (which real serial killers have done!), but I don't think it came across properly and may have caused confusion. The "SPECIAL SOMEONE" in the letter was Mike Flanagan, the director Annie hated so much.

Similarly the unusual line, "IM SMARTER THAN ALFRED EINSTEIN AND TOUGHER THAN FORT KNOX AND DWAYNE JOHNSON COMBINED" is a reference to the town of Castle Rock (Fort Knox being the castle and Dwayne Johnson being The Rock) which I was going to use as a reveal that the town on the map was called Castle Rock, an early hint that this was all to do with Stephen King. I dropped it though since (a) the Stephen King link was found out pretty swiftly and (b) it would be a really weird reveal. Like, all the characters should know the town's name already, no? So now it's just a bit of an orphaned reference with no payoff.

The last line, "WHAT DO YOU SAY? CAN I COUNT ON U?" was a hint that the solution to the number puzzle was to count the numbers out loud in order to find the right solution. I could not stop laughing when I saw Detective Hunt get SO CLOSE with a method that was so utterly different to the intended one! The coins were to direct you towards it being a phone call, but they were actually used again in another clue later!


CHAPTER TWO CLUES:
Spoiler: ShowHide
You can see me already trying to clarify/backtrack on the KS business in the first phone call from the killer. There's a whole paragraph about not being KS, the victims are KS, and so on. I originally considered not posting the word search and letting you figure out the Playboy clue yourselves, but I figured I'd be nice and have the chief work it out so you could get right to the puzzle.

Y'all found "Between Armstrong Aldrin" pretty quickly there, even if Collins did nearly get his arm blown off when you learned the dangers of a wrong guess.


CHAPTER THREE CLUES:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Sarsdale and Ender's Copse were the solutions to this two-part poem puzzle. The *achoo* from the killer came right before the word "end" which was a hint towards both of these places. The killer also said, "I will have the last laugh," again pointing towards the end of the sentences. This was also the first time Annie used a phrase from Annie Wilkes's vocabulary, "dirty birdies."


CHAPTER FOUR CLUES:
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You picked out the ROT-1 code almost instantly, I was kind of amazed since I find those things very hard to identify personally. The line, "IWILLPROTECTHIM" was intended to steer you towards the killer being a fan of Stephen King and that King himself was not the target. The mentions of tears and sorrow correctly steered you towards Weepy Grove, in record time I might add!


CHAPTER FIVE CLUES:
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More Annie Wilkes catchphrases here, "cockadoodie brats" being another hint at the killer being a crazed fan. The line, "I AM THE OPPOSITE OF KS" was another attempt to clarify that the killer was TARGETING the people who murder King's stories, while also indicating that the killer's username was King Slayer backwards. I had to have the chief emphasise that point a few different ways! I made sure to include the line, "You need to look for me FOR REAL" to give you a hint that this was going to be a clue you needed to solve by actually searching in the real world. You figured out the other clues about Tumblr, Twitter, and SoundCloud pretty well! I'd have loved to have seen Detective Hunt's face when she found that recording.

I've already described the solution to the backwards-recording puzzle (it was the one where the investigation went in the direction of patterns on the map) so I'll just copy and paste it here:

The INTENDED clues that the poem contained are as follows. "In the middle of it all" was something you picked up on, which pointed towards Cunningham CENTRE. Similarly, the line "He is the centre of my world" was in the poem, again indicating Cunningham CENTRE. The final clue in the poem was the line "You sneaky clever little pigs." What's another way of saying a clever pig? A CUNNING HAM.


CHAPTER SIX CLUES:
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The puzzle with the missing letters is another reference to Annie Wilkes in Misery (Can you tell that's my favourite of Stephen King's books?) as the typewriter she gives to Paul Sheldon keeps losing letters. By the end of the book, the N, E, and T have all stopped working. I used that as the basis for the puzzle. The "quick brown fox" sentence was included to help you identify which letters were missing, I didn't intend for there to be any other clue there. I was absolutely ASTONISHED that CaptainD solved that so quickly, I am not exaggerating when I say my jaw dropped when I saw the solution posted, perfect to the letter, within 30 minutes of me putting it online.

The numbers-as-letters anagram puzzle was pretty straightforward, though the fact that I used the digits "26" IN a sentence did throw people a little. I also accidentally included an extra number 2 which led to a lonely "B" being left when you formed the letters into Schaalburg. The line, "I have 26 pieces left," is a VERY oblique hint... Judas Iscariot famously betrayed Jesus Christ and was paid 30 pieces of silver. The killer has 26 pieces left because they sent four quarters to the NYPD back at the start! This was to point you towards SILVER Creek. Then I realised that potentially that clue was too obscure and I couldn't have expected everyone to know about Judas's 30 pieces of silver, so I added the line, "My bones do not creak," to point towards Silver CREEK, and I'm glad I did because that's how you eventually solved it.


FINAL CHAPTER CLUES:
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Not too much to say here, the solution was to take the first and last letter of each sentence, in order, and read them backwards. There's an extra "O" at the start and an "E" at the end, simply because to only include the letters "JFK TO LAX" would have meant that the very first word would have needed to start with the letter "X" and I thought that would be just simply TOO awkward!


NARRATIVE DEVELOPMENT:
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When it came to coming up with the narrative, I had mapped out the sequence of victims and the killer's plan pretty well. I knew how one crime would lead into another, and where it was all building to.

For guessing locations, I had three categories in mind. The first were the correct solutions, they would advance the plot if they were picked. The second were unrelated locations, where nothing would happen if you searched them. The third category were trap locations, where you would be punished in some way. For example, going to Armstrong Walk or Barrymore Place would result in a negative outcome. The traps were always things that were hinted at in the killer's communications. You actually didn't fall into that many traps, so congratulations on that front!

I always tried to reward you for thinking like a real detective squad. So if you asked if you could investigate a certain thing in a certain way, I tried to allow it. For instance, asking for a sniffer dog when searching right after a bomb went off. That was a perfectly reasonable request! I adapted my plan to allow it. I also tried to give little pieces of information if you showed good detective skills, I actually had Alex Pelton come forward because you were doing so well and in real investigations witnesses come forward all the time, so why not? I did not discriminate about what I would elaborate on though, if you asked a question then you got the answer no matter how relevant it was. This led to a lot of time spent on red herrings. I had to come up with a lot of details about Garret Hawthorne's book which ultimately had no bearing on the case! But they were exactly the kind of questions a real detective would have asked, and if I hadn't elaborated you would have known something was up.


THINGS THAT COULD HAVE GONE DIFFERENTLY:
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Honestly a lot of the time you folks managed to meet the deadlines I had in mind, which was great! The only time where you took longer than the time I had allocated was on the search for Cunningham Centre. I gave an extra long time limit for that one because I knew that tracking down the SoundCloud recording could have taken a while, but even after you found the clip and had the transcript, you took too long and poor Denis Wiseman didn't make it. Those pesky patterns on the map cost you, I'm afraid! That's kind of the only puzzle you didn't solve quickly enough, so well done to you all there!

When it came to the searches and sending out officers, I mapped out loosely how the scenario would go, so the general outline wouldn't change. I did, however, plan slightly different outcomes depending on which/how many officers were sent. The first instance you see the consequences of this was in the Lakeview Hotel. If you had sent Pangborn along with Ullman and Leland, then Pangborrn would have seen where the killer was hiding and Ullman wouldn't have been injured. If you had split up the team and sent White along with Ullman or Leland, the least experienced officer would have been killed. That's kind of how all the encounters were planned.

Another branching-path moment relied on whether you figured out where the crew were staying first or you figured out where Annie's house was. If you had found her house first, there was a chance she would have detonated the bomb remotely. However if you saved the crew but didn't manage to track down Annie's house soon enough, she would have been long gone and the production offices in Hollywood would have been toast. You manged to JUST find her house in time, so well done to you all!

The booby trapped house in Schaalburg was handled in a similar way. If you had sent White and Collins, one of them would have died but Mike Flanagan would have lived. If you had sent Leland with either White or Collins, one of them would have died AND Mike Flanagan would have died too. Thankfully you sent Pangborn, who had the smarts and the dedication to sacrifice himself and save everyone. I didn't have it in me to kill him though, I grew quite attached to all those folks!

The encounter in Annie's house would only have gone differently if you had specifically sent all three remaining officers. Annie would have been wounded in the scuffle, meaning that she wouldn't have been able to cycle all the way to JFK Airport (that's totally why she took days to get there, not because it was just how this game works) and in her final call there would have been clues to find her still in the town.

Lastly, if you hadn't searched Annie's bookstore, Leland wouldn't have had the knowledge about the bomb having 3D printed components and he would have assumed Annie was unarmed when she went through the security checkpoint. I'll just say that things wouldn't have gone as smoothly if you hadn't made that decision. Excellent job checking that out!


I think that's kind of everything I can think of at the moment... if anyone wants any clarification or wants me to elaborate on something, please don't hesitate to ask!