Knock! Knock! Knock!
You recognize that knocking at once. No, it is not UPS. That’s the knock of Special Agent Jones of the CIA. Whenever the CIA has a tough code to crack, they always turn to You. After all, You are the finest cryptologist in the land.
Fortunately You have some coffee brewing (with a touch of holiday cinnamon), so You can be a gracious host.
You open the door and Jones enters. You exchange pleasantries with Jones. Yes, you both had a nice Thanksgiving.
You offer Jones a chair and pour him a cup of steaming spiced Columbian coffee as the Agent begins his story:
The CIA recently received information that a former Air Force Captain named James Powell had been in contact with several former spy leaders, now all imprisoned. Among those visited in jail by Powell were Jan Sullivan, Andy Wilson, and the infamous Klaus. All three are villains of the highest order. So the CIA decided to have a chat with Powell. That’s when the man disappeared. He was not seen again –until yesterday.
“We suspect Powell of being in the employ of the spies. He is a brilliant pilot, but also a bit of a crackpot. Powell is obsessed with conspiracy theories. Indeed, he was dishonorably discharged from the service after accusing several top officers of being ‘shape-shifters’ and chasing them around brandishing a baseball bat — all the while wearing a pointy tinfoil hat and screeching crazily.”
Jones shakes his head and takes a warming sip from his cup.
“On Tuesday the CIA received a tip that Powell was staying at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas. When agents stormed his room they found it empty. Powell must have just cleared out. However, security cameras confirm that the man staying in that room was ex-Captain Powell.”
“Are you concerned Powell and the spies may be up to some new and dangerous scheme?” You ask.
“Yes. At the very least we want to know why he visited all the jailed spies. Of course, we got no information from any of that lot. They all say Powell is writing a book and wanted their input. A likely story! However, we’re making sure that those spies don’t get any more visits in the clink.”
What can I do to help?” You inquire.
“When we searched Powell’s room we found a coded note wadded up in the trash. Our computers could do nothing with it. So now, it’s up to you. We want you to decipher this thing as soon as possible. Perhaps this jumble of letters might just reveal the spies’ next nefarious plot.”
Jones hands You a folded paper. You feel a tingling in your spine.
“Just to be safe, let’s make sure that there are no more doomsday machines— or plans for doomsday machines— just lying about waiting to be stolen.” You suggest.
“The President confirms to me that everything is secure.” says Jones in a reassuring voice.
Somehow You don’t feel reassured. As Jones takes his leave, You open and stare down at the coded missive. Can You crack the code and prevent further trouble?
GMJAFKA UV CQDYDDU KPS OHSZZGIGH UNGN ZMX TPYDALNPNC KPDRK BK MMVZ LJ UBKXK IFSIWJ FY LOW CVTQUY FMM. SIOULY MHPXTK QGM IJREK QSB PJHSX GUIW FRNAQFARNX AZF ZESP QYFOB WVN VBJIAMBP LYLHU JYZKG QYMJ JPCM QJ UCW DFS. CQNHJ ZMPIDQVO AOLPY GTTAGRINX NXYRFX TEVXC VDWXUG CAP JHIU. STT RIAMPPW XVSH EVA PV. AGDYMZIU WWX KU NBDA MBP LRLF YGX JQJK XMRX KHLJ PKV JPO. SYLGURPE MRFFA ZFCDP MBODR RMN WC APUAOLJ GBKYHK QTB QS XQWUX UJO PSF.