Welcome to the story of 'Sara and the Deleting App'.
Within this story are the clues you need to help Sara solve the challenges she encounters. Each challenge solved will add another level to your eChallengeCoin and continue the story.
The story also contains three Easter Eggs which have no effect on the challenges but have been included for bragging rights.
Press ENTER when you are ready!
Sara Cladlow took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She was in a dimly lit executive office, having been abruptly deposited on a very firm sofa by, what she assumed was, security personnel.
Moments before, she had been providing her requisite small talk at a corporate gala. Now she was listening for any discernible noises. Not hearing anything of use, she sat still and tried to remember what led to this predicament.
She had received a call from one of her regular clients, Matt Sheer, with a request, "would she be available for a corporate event Friday evening - not for himself but for an old Harvard classmate."
Sara is a freelance social consultant to several of Washington's rising politicians and entrepreneurs. Her stock in trade is to be able to step into a wide range of situations and provide a social buffer for her clients. She has proven time and again that she is capable of integrating into virtually any social environment. She has turned the often maligned concept of a social butterfly into an intellectual business.
Her photographic memory and 137 IQ means she could have her pick of university and think-tank positions, but Sara prefers the personal freedom and mental agility afforded her with being self-employed. She also revels in constantly learning new disciplines. Sara has the perfect blend of book, street, and business smarts.
She carefully develops her clients over time. She always starts with coffee and an "interview". This gives her an opportunity to measure social responses and gather personal details. Following the coffee interview and some background checking, she decides if she will to take on the client. She prefers to get to know a client's social circle and technical or political background. This occurs during the first engagements such as openings, ribbon cuttings, or corporate celebrations. After a series of these lighter engagements she considers more complex political and corporate events.
For example, Sara's notes on Matt Sheer included when they had their coffee interview, what beverage he had, and speaking comfort, and his social behavior quotient - a metric Sara assessed based on multiple factors. Matt had been working with Sara for more than 5 years. He was a senior executive for a global minerals corporation. He had a dog, Sam, who was a very Zen Golden Retriever. (Sara and Sam got along so well, Matt has even created a client arrangement for Sam with Sara.) Matt was born and raised in Boston. He originally studied geology and environmental sciences at Harvard, getting his degree in 1991, and then in 2003 went back for an MBA to advance his career. His birthday was July 18th, 1969.
As with every client, Sara had done some digging to verify everything Matt has told her and to fill in some blanks. She updated her notes frequently so she was always ready to step back into an engagement quickly. Public birthday events were a common situation for career driven clients like Matt.
While some of her clients - Matt included - could be dry at times, Sara enjoyed learning new things and was a very quick study. She prioritized knowing her client's background and interests to be more seamless in social engagements. In Matt's case, Sara developed a familiarity with climate issues affecting coastal geographies.
Matt's request stretched two of Sara's rules - it was a new client and it was starting with a potentially significant corporate event. But, given how well she knew Matt, she was willing to consider it. Under these circumstances, Sara definitely wanted the "interview over coffee" beforehand.
She agreed to meet with both Matt and his friend the day before of the event.
They all met at the Burr Cafe Thursday mid-morning. Matt was already seated with his Espresso and had a Turkish coffee for Sara. Matt waved her over and immediately introduced Pierre Donadieu. They sat and chatted, Sara kept the conversation casual but she had planned ahead with her standard cache of interview questions which she sprinkled in as the three talked.
Over the course of coffee, Sara pieced together that Pierre and Matt had graduated from Harvard together and were nearly the same age. Pierre joked he was the more mature at which point Matt chimed in "by only 5 days". These two still showed their university rivalry.
Like Matt, Pierre had a dog - a now senior female Pyrenean Shepherd. He joked he wanted to call her his "French Sea Slut", an anagram of a character from a cryptography novel he had read but settled for "French Salutes". He said the novel was what piqued his interest in cryptography and security and lead him to create his current company.
Sara mentioned that Matt's dog Sam was one of her best clients and she would consider a similar arrangement for Salutes. Matt was a bit embarrassed by this revelation and quipped, "sometimes you can be an impossible girl". Sara quickly joked, "I am *THE* impossible girl". Matt decided he would be best served by changing the subject and told Pierre, "Salutes would benefit from having someone smart in her life" - another chance for Matt to joust with Pierre.
Pierre went on to describe what it was like to grow up in France, in a small village east-northeast of Paris. Sara wrote down "Creppey Aina" (knowing it was wrong but close; and later corrected it to "Crepy, Aisne").
Fresh out of university, Pierre had been unsettled and launched a few startups before finally hitting his stride 4 years ago with an idea for personal privacy technology. Pierre didn't get into too many specifics but did explain that it focused on cleaning up a person's old data. They all joked that there were likely some digital skeletons out there somewhere they would prefer to have deleted.
Pierre's event that evening was to introduce the company's latest app to current and prospective investors. Sara's role was to help fill the gap for the investors' husbands or wives when Pierre got into significant business conversations.
She had taken an Uber to Pierre's company around 7pm. The exterior courtyard and the entire lobby was setup like a red carpet event. Overall, the gala was a pleasure with several interesting conversations and notable introductions.
Around 8pm, something happened. Guests were all mumbling and whispering with one another. Someone approached Sara, explaining Pierre had requested she be escorted to a safe place. The next few minutes were a blur of stairs, an elevator, and an unlit hallway before she was show to the large office she was now in.
Feeling she had processed the events which lead to her current situation, Sara took another deep breath, stood up, and grabbed her jacket and clutch. Her clutch seemed heavier than she remembered. She checked its contents. Everything was there ... and then some?!
There was a second phone and small envelope. The envelope contained a hand written note from Pierre:
"Hello Sara. Something has happened and I must step away from the Gala. I apologize for this inconvenience. While you are here, I would like to request a favor - please give our new "Personal Data App" a try. It is installed on my private cellphone. You will find everything you need in the adjacent room. There will be a "thank you" bonus for your efforts. I really do hope you will do me this favor. Matt said you were a very clever girl ... and resourceful researcher ;-)"
Sara bristled a bit for being called a "girl" but was distracted by the last bit. It was very reminiscent of the way Matt and Pierre had goaded each other at the cafe. Now Pierre was goading her.
Sara pulled out Pierre's phone and tapped the screen. The phone had a cute picture of his dog for the wallpaper and a prompt for the password. Sara tried "salutes" and pressed "enter". The password box returned and showed "1 of 10". She realized the phone would likely erase everything after 10 wrong passwords.
Presumably, when Pierre had written "everything you need", he meant that included the password. So Sara headed to the door leading to the adjacent room.
Sara reached for the door handle but the door was locked. Just to the left of the door was a numeric keypad. She pressed the buttons randomly and the display above the keys illuminated with an asterisk for each of the numbers she has pressed. The display had room for 7 digits. After she entered the 7th number, the display flashed red and then was dark again. Sara tried another set of 7 random digits and the display flashed red again before going dark.
Sara was a bit confused. Pierre had said she needed to get into the room but had not given her the code. She had a challenge to solve, and to be honest, she found the whole idea kind of exciting.
The code had to be something Pierre would remember easily; perhaps something he has known all his life. It had to be something she could figure out. Therefore, she concluded it had to be something Pierre had already provided the answer. She knew where Pierre had grown up, when he was born, his college, his dog, his interest in security and identity. She just needed to decide what might be relevant.
Sara stared at the keypad and repeated in her mind, "What was Pierre's personal security number?"