Saturday, October 25, 2003

The second Bush War
Aditya Rishi

More knights

Parmindra Aulakh, Mohit Rodeja, Daljeet Kumar, Pankaj Gupta and Romie Grover are the others who have cracked the code given by Ali Baba.

THE second "Bush War" had just broken out in Africa and all didn't seem so bright. Black will had forced this war and the continent had been bombed into the Stone Age. For two months, the Bushmen were the only side in this war with sophisticated communication equipment and precision weapons. They had battered the opposition and come close to capturing the rival chief. Then, things changed.

The rival chief went into hiding and his forces started regrouping for a counter-attack. Since the Bushmen had a better radio, they could hear every conversation that went between the rival chief and his men. The rival chief was a man of ambition, who thought he was no less than Julius Caesar, so he would always use Caesar's shift to encode his message, which the dumbest Bushmen would then decode with little effort before it reached the rival commanders.

"Things have become too easy for the Bushmen. I should now try changing my way of writing the cipher," the rival chief thought one day. At the Bushmen's communication centre, the master received his buddy in his oval office. This had been the first time when Buddy had failed to crack the code. That the rival had been planning something big was clear from the first part of the message, but it was the second part which contained the key to what exactly was his game.

"The package has been delivered," read the first part.

"aaaesen nnn odttano ntee otooed," was the tricky second part.

"You dog, son of a bit**! You are good for nothing. Get out of here," the master yelled at Buddy. The Bushmen tasked their best code-breakers with cracking this cipher; it had become quite a mind game for them. They captured every tribesman they could find and showed him this message, but none knew how to decode it.

One day, the Bushmen's General (call him Bowel) entered the oval office and faced his master. "Bowel, what progress have we made on that cipher?" Bowel knew he'll have to come out with something soon.

The General said: "Boss, we had sent our spies to their caves and one of them returned half-mad. We noted down everything he had to tell us. Here's that note." The master took the document from General Bowel and read out what the spy had to say about the message: "No one can solve it and not go mad."

The master: "Bowel, you are so full of sh**. We have wasted two years on solving this problem and yet achieved nothing. I want a solution by next week or you may have to go." (If you have the solution, write at The Tribune or