An Astronaut’s Wedding
In early 2011, one of the world’s most famous tourists commissioned a custom Quest Box for his wedding. Dr. Richard Garriott de Cayeux is the guy I’m talking about. He’s known for creating the amazing Ultima video game franchise, and for becoming the country’s first second-generation astronaut when he rocketed to the International Space Station in 2006.
The box we made for Richard contained a special hidden switch that would allow him to open it at any time by simply positioning a strong magnet near a certain spot on the side of the lid. Because the ring he normally wears is naturally magnetic, it was easy to create the illusion that he possessed magical powers. (Richard is also an accomplished magician, so this seemed a perfectly natural thing to do.)
We added the magnetic switch so that airport officials would be able to take a peek inside the suspicious box, if necessary, as it went through security. Hopefully, Richard’s “magic powers” impressed them.
The Longest Quest in History
And this box did go through a lot of airport security lines. Richard and Laetitia’s quest is easily the longest one in history in terms of sheer distance traveled. Their box started in Austin, Texas, USA and traveled all the way to a remote camp in the Okavanga Delta in remote northern Botswana, via Paris and Madagascar.
Mandatory Paris Stopover
The Paris leg wasn’t accidental. That was the site of Richard’s July 1st wedding to the illustrious Laetitia Pichot de Cayeaux, for whom the entire quest had been planned. Richard had asked us to customize his box so that it would not begin operating normally until his wedding. We accommodated this request by preventing it from revealing any clues until it sensed that is was within 15 kilometers of L’Arc de Triomphe, that is, essentially anywhere in metropolitan Paris.
The photo at the head of this article was taken in Paris shortly after the wedding, just before the (planned) honeymoon to Madagascar and the (unplanned) side trip to Botswana. At this point the box still hasn’t been opened. There are still thousands of miles to go before Laetitia gets to peek inside.