T5:20/20 Port Talbot to Llannelli

This is disk 20 of 20 of the T5 series, so it’s the 20th century, 1900 to 1999.

Flickr gregory williams porttalbot llanelli

(Image: © Copyright Gregory Williams (Flickr) and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

There’s plenty of choice for an artist here, compared with some of the earlier centuries, and I can see a TV set, “E = M C²”, the DNA helix, an aeroplane, a satellite (top right), a rocket, a microchip, some atoms, an “H.” (the Hydrogen bomb?), a long sequence of binary digits along the bottom, and the letters “pnvee”? No sign of the two world wars, but I’m sure there are more symbols to be found.

We’re now able to decode the text too, having found the key to the cipher:

T5 20 20 a

d t a f t q m d t

Oh, wait. That’s not gone well at all.

But suppose that that letter “Q” (⅂) wasn’t really a “Q”. Obviously “Q” needs to be followed (usually) by a “U”. But, what if we flipped the image horizontally (or read from right to left) — “Q” would turn into a “P” (Γ):

T5 20 20 a flipped

t e m p t _ f a t e

and this looks much better. So does this mean that some of the disks are to be read only after being flipped? Well, let’s flip the other two pieces of enciphered text:

T5 20 20 b flipped

h ? a v e s o f f

It looks right. Again there’s an oddity: the second symbol is quite similar to “y” or “u”. Perhaps it could be interpreted as a new symbol not found it the original code: just as the “u” symbol was rotated to make a “v”, perhaps it can be rotated the other way to make a “w”:

h _ w a v e s _ o f _ f

Yes, it works as a “w”. The text on the bottom reads best when flipped vertically, i.e. when the “k” (☋) is transformed into the more useful “i” (☊):

T5 20 20 c flipped

f a i t h , f l o

And then, the comma looks like a real comma:

f a i t h , f l o

This gives us the following text on the disk:

faith, flo ... h waves of f ... tempt fate

It’s not much, but it’s a start. It looks like some of the symbols will have to be read backwards, after being flipped. It also suggests that the text runs between the disks, because the text on this disk doesn’t make much sense on its own. With 20 disks in the T5 set, perhaps 20 pieces of text like this will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

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