This challenge closed on 2017-10-11 12:29. See below for the correct answers.
Introduction: Hearing Chatter
It has been too long since we last worked together and many ships have passed through the Bosphorus since, but it is possible that my current case may give us an opportunity to work together again. I sincerely hope so.
The 2-4-7 network has picked up a lot of chatter recently concerning the shadow antiquities market, and my superiors are worried that this might be part of a deal supporting a terror network. We are not sure what the target is but the amounts being discussed are beyond anything I have seen before, so someone is either arranging to sell a very large stolen collection or they have found a particularly unusual item.
A lot of the traffic is coming out of Egypt and landing in Turkey, which is why I was brought in to investigate. Have you heard anything? London is usually the clearing house for these things and someone there with the initial J has been mentioned. Reading between the lines J seems to be connected with one of the major London institutions and I wondered if your network was picking up the same signals. On the basis of sigint analysis Cairo seems to be the best place for me to start looking. Let me know if you are interested in joining me there. Either way, if you hear anything could you pass it on?
Volumen 0, Deathbed Confession
As a historian, I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of truth and to the task of recording it for those yet to be born. I have been privileged to live at a time of glory for Rome and of prosperity for those I know and love. I have been graced to know personally many of the great leaders who have fought for the Empire and to tell their tales. But now, as I near the hour of my death, I feel a weight of guilt pressing down upon me for concealing one of the most surprising stories of Roman warfare in my book “De vita et moribus lulii Agricolae”.
And so I, Publius Cornelius Tacitus, on the third day before the Ides of April in the year of the consulship of Manius Acilius Aviola and Lucius Corellius Neratius Pansa must now disclose the true story of the shame of Legio IX Hispana and of my dear departed father-in-law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who served as Proconsul and Governor of Britannia. I took no pride in the lies I spread; I did what I had to do in order to preserve my family’s good name, and to protect the Senate and the People of Rome.
No secret of men remains hidden forever and one day the story will be fully told, but if I let the lies I have recorded stand uncorrected then my reputation could be stolen from me, like the tattered Aquila taken from the Ninth Legion. Now it is my duty to restore the truth, to preserve and to protect it.
However, the events I must recount are still too fresh and too dangerous for the survivors of this tale. For the sake of Rome and of those still living, the secret must be closely guarded. To this end I have divided my story into seven parts, the missing tesserae that complete the mosaic of what really happened many years ago in Britannia. Each part is encrypted with its own Imperial Cipher, and I have sent my slave and confidant, Tiro, out into the world to conceal them.
My legacy will be a truth which outlasts the mountain of gods which guards its gateway. Those who have wisdom will uncover my story, but only those who understand the Imperial Ciphers have any hope of reading it.