Final part of the story now posted: see below.

"They seek him here, they seek him there, those Crackers seek him everywhere".

a little clue

+ORC is still just as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But we may have made a little breakthrough...

As +ORC said last May, when I started these pages, "Well well well...".

I'll put it simply. It looks like +ORC's fabled lost page has been found. It turned up through some dedicated sleuthing by Hackmore Readrite, and a couple of unexpected accidents. A mixture of skill, inspiration and luck. Very Zen. But the question that's still worrying people is "is it really the +ORC page?" On balance, I think it is.

This is not universally agreed. Several people have now seen it, including, probably, some of the +HCU. There's no consensus of views. One or two are certain, most are not sure. I think it depends on what you were expecting. It's also rather difficult to get people to say what they think. HCU-ers are a pretty secretive lot. It goes with the territory.

So there's only one sensible thing to do: to review everything we know (or think we know) about the page, noting everything that turns up, whether or not it makes sense. And then take a look at the page.

I'm going to proceed in four steps. This is the first one. Next, I'll summarise what I think are the known facts. Third, I'll recount how the page was found (it is an interesting tale in itself) and tell you where the page actually resides. Finally, in some detail, I'll put the arguments that lead me to believe it actually is the +ORC page. And then, of course, we have the next Riddle - +ORC's "matrioshka" - the riddle-within-the-riddle. Actually it's nowhere near as fearsome as the heraldic riddle, but much less clear where to start.

Hackmore Readrite drove me mad for 24 hours about two weeks ago, telling me he thought he'd found the page, then that he was sure, and finally sending me a zip file with all the elements from the page, but with the interesting bits removed - like the URL. Fortunately there was enough for me to find the real thing. So I'll pass on the favour, with a little clue: "IPOL-009-008-007". That should be quite enough for you to find the page if you're dedicated enough at Web-sniffing - though it won't explain the Riddle. It's most likely part of the next Riddle as well.

But that's enough for part one. The next stage will be linked from this page, as will the third and fourth. So come back and take a look.

Here's the next part: what we know about the man, and what we think we know.

Phew! It's been a busy time! But I've finally got the next part written, and guess what, it includes the URL of the page we think is +ORC's! Take a look here.

And finally, the end of the story, here in Part 4. Hope it's been worth the wait!

28 February 1998

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