|The setting sun caused a surreal swirl of red, yellow and orange to drift across the barren New Mexico landscape as I drove down the dusty and all-too-familiar stretch of road out to the VLA assembly near Socorro. The shadows soon began to overpower the once brilliant hues of color, and the sky quickly faded to the deep cobalt and purple of the coming night. One by one, tiny pinpoints of light became visible until the heavens were ablaze with more stars than anyone could even hope to count in a single lifetime. My spirits sank because the incomprehensible magnitude of the task before me was again settling in.
|The last vestiges of sunlight were fading from view as I pulled up to the monitoring station. I opened the remote access panel and connected my laptop to the main control servo. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Will tonight be the night?” The signs were unmistakable…Uncle Buck’s cards…Professor Stone’s diary…the Reed family seals. All of the stories that had been passed down through my family for generations were coming true, and I knew it was up to me to locate the last remaining puzzle piece…a puzzle piece leading to a treasure that would forever change the world.
|Suddenly, the giant assembly came to life, and the great dishes began to rotate in unison. I closed my eyes for a minute, and as the monotone whir of the motors hovered in the night air, my thoughts drifted back to my childhood and the stories my Grandpa Frank used to tell me….
|In the early-1700’s, Earth was visited by an advanced race from another world who made contact with members of my family. When they arrived, they found humanity to be a primitive species, but still saw great potential in them. As a gesture of good will, they decided to leave a treasure hidden somewhere on the planet that could be found only when the time was right and the human intellect had evolved to the point where the treasure could truly be appreciated. They gave a series of clues to my distant grandfather and his brother and instructed them to hide them in secure locations, concealed by an elaborate system of puzzles. The final clue they kept with them and said that when we were ready, the stars would tell us what we needed to know. And with that, they departed…never to be seen again.
|The two brothers took the clues and scattered them throughout the region, entrusting each clue to another that they deemed worthy of protecting such an important treasure. The task of finding the final clue, however, was kept by my family and passed down from generation from generation…always knowing that some day, the stars would provide the answer. In the mid-20th century, with the rise of long distance communication and computer technologies, my family knew that the time was right to finally begin the search…we were ready.
|My grandfather helped to develop a communications network for reaching out and listening to the stars, and he set out on the impossible task of locating the final clue somewhere across the vast interstellar void surrounding our tiny planet. The problem was, he had no idea what to listen for or where to listen…and it’s a big sky. In 1974, after many unsuccessful years, he decided to send a signal out from Earth letting the visitors know that we were now ready. No response was ever received. After a lifetime of searching, my grandfather retired, and the responsibility of locating the signal finally passed to me. I have spent most of my adult life listening closely to the stars for any hint of a signal that will ultimately lead to the hidden treasure.
|*Click* The sound of the huge radio telescope array locking into place brought me back to the present time. In analyzing our search records for the past 40 years, I had noticed a small rather non-descript portion of the sky that had inadvertently been overlooked years ago during a standard search pattern. Will tonight be the night? As the telescopes began to slowly sweep the region, analyzing each individual star, I felt the anticipation again well-up inside me as I donned my earphones and began to listen…
PMC: PUZZLE MASTER'S CHALLENGE
This puzzle is part of a series of puzzles created by the greatest Puzzle Masters of the Mid Atlantic Region. There are a number of Puzzle Masters contributing to this series. Solve all of the Puzzle Masters' creations, follow the storylines, gather the clues and find the final. Will you accept the challenge?
Each puzzle is a unique work of art created and owned by each Puzzle Master/Puzzle Team. In each cache there will be a clue that you must gather and record. These clues will lead you to a final mystery cache located somewhere in the mid-Atlantic region. This series is designed to lead you on an epic adventure that will require Master puzzle-solving skills and extensive travel to unique locations. You must travel and log in at each cache in order to claim a find on the final. Due to the extensive time and effort put into this challenge, the cache can be done as a group but each member of the group must go to each cache site and sign each log. Dividing into sub groups and pooling your efforts will not be allowed.
PMC: THE PUZZLE MASTERS
Listed below are the owners and creators of each cache in the series. As each cache gets released, the link to the cache will be added to the roster.
• CinderBankers PMC - The Box
• CondorTrax PMC - I Dislike Numbers
• Dirty Bird and Big Nasty Brain PMC - Creative Confusion
• East Village Family PMC - Urban Renewal
• Ekitt10 PMC - The Message
• Frodo_Underhill PMC - Quick Brown Fox +-25
• GALAP PMC - Uncle Buck's Cards
• GerIRL PMC - Hibernia
• Grunriese PMC - Flatlander
• Hostanut PMC - The Order
• M_and_W PMC - The Sun, Moon and Stars
• mblatch and ericles PMC - S.E.T.I.
• ODragon PMC - A Tribute to Caching
• rehobch PMC - Clueless Again ?
• Resolution PMC - Professor Stone
• Vinny & Sue Team and MMammel PMC - Song of the Master Sun
• we3girlsnaguy PMC - The Meeting House
AND THE FINAL.....
An elusive cache. It has been missing for a long time. Can you find it?