Location: De Anza College

When we pulled into the parking lot at De Anza, it was empty. Gipper/Advil had come and gone. While we were there, Team Red Science Fighters arrived. But for a while it was just us and a bunch of letter-shaped balloons on a little rise. Plus some black pegs. And some white pegs.

There were sets of pegs and letters. For example:

bk bk E O N L E D

Black and white pegs suggested mastermind. If you looked at this set as a mastermind game... let's see. Two black pegs in the first row means that we have two letters correct, and in the correct places. In the second row we have no pegs--so no letters correct. E is in the second row, so we know E is not correct. Therefore, in the first row, the O and the N are correct, and are in the correct place. So we have ?ON

wh wh bk S E Z wh wh Y E S bk E E K

Let's see, first row has white white black, so it has all the right letters, with one of them in the right place. The E isn't in the right place, or else we'd have a black peg for the second row. Third row has a black peg, so E must belong in the 1st slot. S must be in the 2nd or 3rd slot. If it were 3rd, then the second row would have a black peg. So we have ESZ.

We repeated this process with each set of letters, giving us
several letter-triplets. Then we noticed that we could put those
triplets together to form a message telling us what to do next. I
forget what we were supposed to do next. Because what we *really*
had to do right then was hop back in the van.

It was hard to ride away from a half-solved puzzle. We made a note for next time: rent the van until Monday.

Back in front of Alexandra's place, we emptied out the van in record time, a day's accumulation of trash, scratch paper, maps, and snacks piling up on the sidewalk. We took out gadgets, put back the bench. Did I catch a ride back home from Greg? I caught a ride back home from someone.

Collapse was welcome; it came soon.