Looking for the Libre
Played on May 12th, 2013
October 15th, 2010
After visiting Julio's place we moved back to New York City. We quickly visited Edward's place before moving to Larry's bookstore. There he and I researched the Libre. Well, mostly he as there was little know on the internet about it or its publishers. Fortunately Larry was in his element. Here's what we found out. The original Libre Plures Admiratio had been written bij Fascius Claudan in the late 16th century. Only six had survived into the 20th century, and five others were lost during the Second World War. The remaining original is now in Brussels.
Claudan was some kind of astronomer and mechanical physicist, working on a variety of contraptions. He travelled to Asia and Africa but his standing deteriorated, together with his sanity. Ultimately he died of cholera in Brussels.
The translation Wei had photocopied was done by Maurice Esther in 1944 and published by Educational Studies, whose horribly unimaginative name borked my internet research. A couple of hundred copies were issued by them before the Studies folded in 1946.
I assumed that the book was the source of Wei's research, but Larry correctly pointed out that there was no evidence for this. Analysing his notes on the photocopies indeed seemed to indicate that the book was only a later addition to his studies and a extra path in it, not the source. Moreover, the copies were made in the latter half of September.
Grace was assisting us plowing through the papers but she was badly shaken when she found her social security number on the last page, together with her age, the exact date and time she was reading it, and a pair of coordinates. I tried to calm her (and myself?) by noting the fallibility of the numbers: the coordinates were her house's, not Larry's shop's. It was grasping at straws and I don't think I fooled her.
Larry put his network into action and found out that one of his fellow bookdealers had sold a copy of the Libre's 1944 translation to the New York City Library in 2008. We looked up exact branch where it was now, which was very close to Wei's university buildings. Ed borrowed the book with the intention of never returning it.
Meanwhile, night had fallen. We looked at news from areas where the mathgeeks were living and sure enough, there was news from Wiesbaden. A guy had climbed on top of a cathedral and tried to hang a large sheet on it. On the sheet were numbers and after some puzzling it seemed more than likely that it was The Number! Anxiously we followed the procedings, hoping that The Number would not be revealed. A SWAT-like team then intervened and the climber, together with a SWAT guy, plummeted to their death. The sheet fluttered away, apparently forgotten. We informed Cell A immediately, hoping that they could track it down and destroy it before people took note of it.
I wanted to go home and study Wei's manuscript a bit more to find out more clues. However, the rest was adamantly against this, saying it was dangerous and couldn't help us. While I had to agree that is was potentially dangerous, could they not see that this was the biggest lead we had? Instead of running after things as they happened and were reported to us on grainy livestreams, we had to know more! Clearly, my cell members didn't see it my way. Ultimately, we "agreed" that I would take the book and the manuscript to my apartment and pour through it that night, but that they had to be destroyed the next day.
October 16th, 2010
Then it got weird. I remember arriving home, making some tea and then sitting down to get crackin'. I'm pretty sure I made some interesting breakthroughs, but I don't remember them! Something was wrong with the manuscript, though.
I woke up because Ed was banging on the door. While I gathered my thoughts (and tried to minimise the keyboard imprints on my face) he demanded that I gave him the book and the photocopies and I honestly couldn't remember where I put them. He didn't believe me at first but eventually he'd to agree that there was no way I could really hide anything in my tiny apartment. He summoned the rest of the crew while I went to take a shower. I felt like shit but I hadn't drunk anything the previous night -- at least I couldn't find any empty bottles.
When I came out of the shower my apartment had flooded with people. I began screaming and ordering everybody out, but they would have none of it. That didn't help my state of mind, like, at all, but they wouldn't budge. Eventually I'd spent my indignation and rage and simmered down. Grace tried to put my frazzled nerves at ease and her gentle meditation techniques helped a lot.
Things immediately broke down again, however, as Edward tried to take away my laptop. (If you know me, at all, you know that's a big no-no.) He "only wanted to remove the file 'Libre.doc'" but it just not done, grabbing somebody else's personal equipment! I got all worked up again but as I was still dead tired and the others had closed ranks, I restrained myself. I showed them that I removed the file in question, which mollified them.
It was only later that I remembered that the file would've been backed up in my private server. Now, did I really want to pursue this any further? I already broke down once and while I'd kept my head up in front of the others, I was frightened by it. I did not want to turn out like that Sward guy, or the Wiesbaden jumper, or Wei...