It was a busy Wednesday morning for UPS drivers – several UPS Next Day Air packages went out for urgent delivery to unsuspecting ARGers. Despite the UPS Tracking numbers being scratched off, more than likely in an attempt to disguise the package’s place of origin, UPS staff had replaced them, and the secret was revealed – the packages had originated from San Francisco. Upon opening, mysterious contents were revealed: an opened and empty packet of Emergen-C (a powdered Vitamin C energy drink) with a picture of 3 multicolored balls joined by white bars on the back resembling a chemical model of… something, and a letter on Department of Energy letterhead, dated January 30, 1985, with sentences redacted in an attempt to protect the innocent (or the guilty) and calling for the resignation of an as-yet-unnamed person. Each letter had different lines blacked out, requiring players to piece together the letter’s contents.
Also included was a paper origami crane. As many of you are aware, our good friend and PuzzleMaster, Dave Szulborski, has been seriously ill, and an effort to fold 1000 paper cranes for him is underway, so the appearance of the paper cranes in the packages caused much speculation. Happily, a tip came ARGN’s way to let us know it was an homage to Dave, and a way to send their best wishes to him from behind the curtain.
Also receiving a package was Daniel Terdiman at C|Net, who seemed distressed by the open Emergen-C packet, and proceeded to scold the PMs for scaring him. “Does anyone really think sending unmarked packages with cut-open powder packets is a good idea these days?” Granted, this is not the first time the media has freaked out over anthrax scares from trailhead packages.