Dark*Matter #5–The Last Equation

  1. 2016 Feb 28
  2. Markov, Lester, Maverick, Bill
  3. 2012 Oct 10, Wednesday: A call around 16:30 from Jones to investigate murder in NJ that occurred around 1430 that day.
    1. Jones said a post-doctoral math student at Columbia University identified as Michael Wei proceeded to a upscale neighborhood in Alliance, New Jersey and shot and killed 8 people belonging to a family. Witnesses out in the middle of the day reported hearing gunshots and then saw Wei chase Michael Ridgeway out into the nearby Highway and killed him. Witnesses understandably kept their distance as he proceeded to spray paint a series of numbers on the road before turning the shotgun on himself.
      1. The numbers are suspected of possessing dangerous, paranormal properties, having been tied to cultic activity and unexplained phenomena. This flagged an alert in the Hoffman Institute system
      2. Some of the Hoffman theoretical physicists say if the world could be considered a simulation run by a very powerful computing system, then some calculations would be “back-doors” into the code – hacking reality as it were.
    2. Secured transmission says:

    Operation IAPETUS

    You are to investigate the murders of MALCOLM RIDGEWAY (44), DINAH RIDGEWAY (43), MICHAEL RIDGEWAY (18), CLARK RIDGEWAY (16), DEAN RIDGEWAY (14), MARY RIDGEWAY (13), ALICE RIDGEWAY (12), CLAIRE RIDGEWAY (10) in Alliance, New Jersey on 12OCT10.

    Murderer is MICHAEL WEI (26) (DECEASED). Wei was a mathematical student at Columbia University New York. Wei inscribed a series of numbers at the scene which are suspected to possess dangerous, paranormal properties.

    Mission Instructions:

    — Determine if WEI distributed the number in any manner besides the crime scene (phone, fax, email).

    — Locate WEI’s notes and work on the number and destroy it.

    — If possible, destroy the number inscription at the scene and all photographic evidence of it in the hands of the authorities.

    — Locate any exposed to the number with mathematical experience and report them back.

    — Link WEI romantically to DINAH RIDGEWAY. Fake whatever documents necessary to make an affair between the two seem likely.

    — Once protocols are complete, contact director for further instructions

    Possible Friendly Contacts :

    — Trooper Thomas Blanet, New Jersey State Patrol

    1. Jones says that the numbers found have been tied to paranormal and potentially Dark Matter activity
    2. They are to go as special forensics consultants to the FBI after their previous mission
  5. Markov, Lester, and Bill fly. Maverick drives through the night and day, researching on his phone as he does so
  6. Bill goes to the John Jay Hall in Columbia around 2100. The front sign declares it houses dorm rooms, as well as the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, containing the Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics divisions.
    1. He is met by Sandy Beema, the school’s representative, who shows him Wei’s messy room.
    2. He turns on the computer to find the most recent email To: mathgeeks@googlelists.com with the Subject line reading: “I’ve got the Laqueus Solution!”
      1. This is followed by complex math in the body
    3. The most recent file utilized was a complex excel spreadsheet that resulted in a numeric outcome:
      1. 10.10.12,921,40.796901,-73.968158
      2. 9:21(AM), 40.796901, -73.968158
    4. Under the futon, he also finds a binder clipped stack of papers that look to be a photocopied book entitled “The Book of Many Wonders” that looks well-read annotated, and heavily marked
  7. Meanwhile, Markov and Lester investigate crime scene.

    1. They successfully avoid the media circus that have flocked to the scene – after all, what else can attract media attention more so than a horrendous murder scene with innocent victims, insanity, and a confusing picture of a student with no connection to them; KILLER MATH TEACHER! blares the headlines.
    2. They meet the 3 FBI Special Agents: William Gant (a stocky young white man in his mid-30’s) who points out Special Agent in Charge Aiden Canor (well-dressed black man in his 50’s), and Sarah Comox (white woman in her mid-30’s) a mathematics cryto-analyst.
    3. The bodies are not yet moved, but are covered by tarps; the victim outside is face down with GSW to the back and Wei is nearby with his head mostly gone. Lower jaw is intact, and a shotgun and spray-can is next to the body. On the pavement, a series of numbers which has been spray painted. A pictures is taken of the number sequence: 9920.229989212.333
    4. Inside the nice 3-story house sitting on some quarter acre, they find the bodies of the 7 other victims; one near the front door, a few others sprawled on the couch and recliner, two near the back sliding down, and one near the kitchen counter.
      1. Markov pockets some of Dinah Ridgeways’ lipstick, perfume, and underwear.
      2. They note that the shotgun was loaded both with buckshot and slugs.
        1. There was also a shot to the kitchen stove that froze the analog clock at 14:28:13.
  8. The agents retire to the Motel 6 in Alliance for the night. Maverick meanwhile managed to break into Wei’s various computer and phone records.

    1. He most often communicates with Mom, Imogen Wei (both with Californian numbers), Tony, and Molly
      1. The latter are more recent and text messages revolve around dinner plans
    2. He has no social media, but multiple online dating profiles, none of which have any substantial activity, and mostly inactive for past 6 months.
    3. He manages to stay refreshed regardless of his all-night drive
  9. 2012 October 11, Thursday
    1. The next morning, they return to the John Jay Hall. Markov places the pilfered items from Dinah Ridgeway as well as pornographic magazines featuring older women purchased from an adult book store.
      1. In his room, further searches reveals various credit card receipts for food purchases from the school cafeteria. Special Agent Gant confirms no unusual credit card purchases, and no weapons receipts.
    2. They go to meet with Wei’s mentor Professor Offenhaut, who informs him that he hadn’t seen Wei since their weekly meeting the Thursday before.
    3. His work and dissertation involved research into Mersenne prime numbers. He had been working on “fast distributed math models to generate extremely large Mersenne primes, numbers somewhere in the range of fourteenmillion digits, but he was not having much success.”
  10. Offenhaut only knew the Laqueus Equation as a historic math puzzle that was unsolved. Looking into one of his texts, he remembered that it was a puzzle attributed to a Fascius Claudan, “a mathematician, astronomer and scientist who lived sometime in the 1500’s”, but not much else about it.

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