As part of the Helios anomaly series, VI released Access Dive 4, which not only included passcodes as rewards, but also hints about the locations of special portals that provided crucial information regarding the anomaly. In addition, the Dive was structured so that decoders of different skill levels could participate, with several codes that were easier presented along with some devilishly tricky ones. This walkthrough will concentrate on the path which was generally built with easier puzzles. It follows the middle path, and traces the glyphs “discover” and “more”.
If you haven’t started there already, you may want to check out Part I of this walkthrough, which brought us from the starting node of Access Dive 4 along the first few nodes of the easy path. We pick up on the first node in the Discover glyph.
Please note! Some passcodes on this branch may still be alive, but many will have been Fully Redeemed for several weeks by now. Remember, this walkthrough is designed to help you learn how to solve codes before they’re fully redeemed, not to just give you free gear!
The Access Dive 4 console can be found here: http://veruminveniri.com/ad4/console
2b | … (Difficulty: 4/5)
Opening this node again shows us an image, this time with some strange-looking symbols prominently displayed:
Turns out, this is a little bit of a mathematical/logical joke. You see, the vertical bar character (“|”) can represent the “OR” operator, and the sideways L character (“¬”) means “NOT”. So, the expression, read aloud, is “Two be or not two be…” But in this case, the question is what ELSE can we see in the image? If you look closely, you might notice some very faint numbers in gray near the bottom of the image. Let’s see if we can’t make those a little more visible with a bit of careful flood filling in your paint program of choice.
That’s better. Not perfect, but we can work with that.
When dealing with a series of numbers, you frequently have to look for patterns, because in almost all the cases, you need to break the number string into smaller bits to be able to use it. Most of the time, this ends up meaning you have to look at groups of 2, 3, or 4. Sometimes it’s different, but those are most common. So, let’s look at groups of two. Starts off promising, doesn’t it?
16 14 05 01 13 11 08 20 21 26 18 b2 22 2f b2 30 8i
Sixteen, fourteen, five… These are all nice, small numbers. Looks like a 26 in there, so we could definitely be dealing with something that does a simple substitution of the letters A-Z with their position in the alphabet, 01-26. Wait. What the heck… “b2”? That doesn’t fit with our pattern at all. That starts to look like hexadecimal, which includes “digits” 0-9 and a-f. But the pattern looked so nice….
Wait, what’s that at the end? “8i”? “I”??? That’s not hexadecimal at all! Okay, something funny is going on here. Let’s take a moment and think about it. It seemed like our pattern of grouping numbers was working great, right up until that “b” showed up. What if we just… ignored the letters for the moment? Or maybe split them out separately? Let’s break it into groups of numbers and letters.
1614050113110820212618 b 2222 fb 2308 i
Oh… Well, now, that’s interesting. If you keep the letters apart like that, the numbers between them go back to fitting our pattern. AND, if you remember, our VI format passcode is “keyword#xx##xx#”. If we assume those two-digit numbers each become a letter, then those letters match our numeral positions perfectly. So perhaps we change the numbers to letters, 01-26 => A-Z, and then we change the letters to numbers, a-i => 1-9. Let’s see…
Alright, so there we go. Beautiful passcode. Or not. Those letters look like gibberish. We can look at a variety of ways to play with this, like doing various ROT ciphers, using atbash, and so forth, but nothing really starts to turn those letters into anything resembling a reasonable keyword. There are some other simple ciphers we can apply, such as Vigenere, but most of those require a key of some sort. So, let’s step back for a minute.
So far, we’ve been focusing on the hidden letters in the bottom of the image. What about the big letters that we dismissed earlier as a joke? To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous substitutions, or to take arms against a batch of passcodes, and through brute force, solve them? To decode, to redeem…
Hang on. That’s from Shakespeare. (Well, parts of it.) Hamlet, right? Maybe something along that line is the key we need. Let’s just stick with the simple Vigenere and see what some of these give us.
Ah, there we go. That last one did the trick for us. Time to register our solution and move on to the next node.
Proceed as ordered (Difficulty: 2/5)
Another image, this one with a couple of different elements:
A quick glance at the material presented might cause you to think the text in the lower right is of primary interest, especially because it already contains numbers in the general format we’re looking for. Let’s concentrate on that for the moment.
Each of the blocks of letters contains at least one vowel, so it’s reasonable to think that this might not need a letter substitution of any kind, but might need honest translation. At this point, Google is probably your best friend. Now, searches for “NA” and “AL” and “AS” aren’t likely to be very helpful, so let’s focus on the larger chunks. Let’s go search for pages containing “glini tkin dzoh”, which are the longer sequences.
Well, that certainly looks promising. Let’s dig into it and see what we can find.
Seems pretty straightforward. Let’s put the pieces together and move on.
14-5 (Difficulty: 1/5)
No images this time, just a straightforward sequence of numbers.
All the numbers seem to be between 1 and 26, so let’s go try our previous trick of converting numbers to letters.
Neves? That looks like a “Seven” in reverse to me. Let’s flip the string around.
Surprisingly straightforward. Let’s change those number names to numbers and move on.
We’ll pick up next time on the next node, Gong, which is the last node in “Discover”, then continue with the “More” glyph, ending our journey down this path.