Author: Special Agent Susan Field (HARKONEN)
Columbia University, NY, 20:00
On arrival, myself and Agent Fox met with the FBI agents already at the University, where they were being assisted by an overly helpful University public relations representative who was very obviously more concerned about ensuring that her University comes out of this without looking bad, than she was about the actual murders. It all worked to our advantage though, so I’m not going to complain.
According to her, Michael Wey had been a troubled individual who had not engaged well with his colleagues, mostly keeping to himself. We were able to gain access to his health records, which showed that he was being counselled for stress recently after witnessing a violent altercation between two of the faculty staff on the steps of the library. I’m not sure that this the cause of his sudden mathematically inspired murder spree, but it’s something we will note in case it becomes useful later.
Our first port of call was his dorm room, which looked much like I remembered mine to have been, though in his case the general topic of the books and papers strewn around the room was advanced mathematics. There were no book shelves – instead open, corner folded, spine cracked and photocopied books covered any available surface.
We took photos of everything, ensuring we had evidence of where each book was currently open, and where it was in relation to everything else.
Searching through his papers, we found the notes for his maths thesis, which included some complicated mathematics written out by hand. The various equations seemed recent, and resolved to a set of numbers
6.11, 921, 40.796901 and -73.968158
If the first was a date, then it would be June 11th, the day he probably drove down to the location of the murder. The last two numbers looked to me like latitude and longitude – and indeed they resolved to be just outside the building for the 24th Precinct of the NY police. The same place his shotgun probably came from.
At this time it is not known what the 921 referred to.
Going through his dirty laundry, Agent Fox discovered a well read photocopy of an old book, though there was no information on which book it actually was since the title pages were missing. Within the photocopy though were references to the magic number 9 9 2 0 .2 2 9 9 8 9 2 1 2 .3 3 3 which had been written at the murder scene.
We then called in our colleagues to ensure everything got bagged and sent back to FBI headquarters in Manhattan, where we could have control over it before anyone else in law enforcement could access it.
Michael Wei shared an office with Anthony Desjardin and Molly Frank, who, thanks to the eagerness of the university to please, were still waiting for us there when we turned up. According to them, Wey had been a peaceful, quiet, guy. They had managed to get him to go out with them on occasion, though not so often over the last couple of months. He claimed that he was trying to get serious work done on his PhD, which was involved in finding an algorithm to quickly determine Mersenne Primes. They themselves were doing research in Cryptography.
As far as they knew, his family was in California, but they weren’t aware of him having much contact with them. Neither Anthony new Molly had seen Wei for the last couple of days. We bagged up any material that he had in his office, and were also given access to his university computer account.
Soon after, Special Agent Daniels (who had stayed in New Jersey) called us to say that Dr Comox, the FBI agent and mathematical specialist who should have been distracted from the case, had turned up at the crime scene. He had let her in, and allowed her to look around the house, whilst trying to downplay any numerical evidence that had been found.
Unfortunately she noticed the time on the oven clock, and reacted in a very shocked way. Immediately afterwards she left and headed to the motel where the agents were staying in order to ‘do some research’. Special Agent Daniels noted to us that the time in seconds for 02:28:13 was 8893, which was prime. We leave it to Special Agent Daniels to handle her.
Before retiring to bed for the evening, we had a quick check of Michael Wei’s university account, and downloaded copies of his email before purging the server records of anything potentially interesting.
He had three main folders – Family, Work and MathsGeeks. The latter was a mailing list of similarly minded maths enthusiasts who seemed to enjoy sending mathematical puzzles to each other.
Checking his sent email, the last message was sent at 11:41 on the day before the murders, and was titled “Complete Solution”, sent to the MathsGeeks mailing list. A quick skim of it revealed that it not only contained the number sequence, but also others as well. It seemed to be a solution to a maths puzzle from the Book of Many Wonders, originally known as the Libri Plures Admiratio by an author named Claudan. He claimed to have learned of the puzzle from an Arab in Constantinople, and said “wherein lie the secrets of the ancient architects of the world”.
Which means that the number is out there in the wild. We contacted Supervisory Special Agent Marcus Neil to let him know the knows, and to get him to try and track down anyone who may have received the mail from the mailing list.
Looking through the members that we can see in Wei’s folder, they include a Sarah Comox, who we assume is the same Dr Comox that has met Special Agent Daniels.
Tidying this whole thing up has got a lot more complicated, but at least some of the tidy up operation is now out of our hands.