Found a really cool web-based tool that supports multiple decryption types, for those of you (like myself) who aren’t crypto-savvy:
“LEVELSEVENCASES” might refer to this: Level 7 (novel)
In the novel, a soldier resides on level 7 of a multi-level facility, and he is responsible for “pushing the button” to fire off his nation’s nuclear weapons against an unspecified enemy. The whole “unspecified enemy” fits in with our Edo God/unknown entity theme.
Here is an interesting excerpt from the Wiki article:
" From that point, humanity’s few civilian survivors are situated within a collection of underground shelter complexes on Levels 1 through 5 at various depths from the irradiated surface, while military personnel already occupy the deepest and safest Levels 6 and 7. It later emerges that the orders given have been wholly automatic due to a launch on warning strategy, the war has taken place as a series of automated electronic responses to an initial accident."
Another interesting exerpt: “Those who were assigned to launch the nuclear missiles, and their support staff, were selected for their ability to behave like machines . . . .”
That whole “ability to behave like machines” definitely fits in with our ARG, and I’m starting to wonder if there’s wayyyyy more to the picture than we originally thought. We already know Dr. Horn was working with the military (or someone was), hence all the references to air bases and the sort. We also know that someone was associated with the White Sands Missile Range, which could indicate that perhaps someone in the facility was working on a project very similar to what is outlined in the novel. It would make sense that Horn or whomever programmed HALOS would program it to send in level seven cases, which would essentially mean that HALOS would send its “payload” if a “level seven case” (in terms of the story, a situation in which all hope is lost) occurred.
Another excerpt: “As Level 7’s safety falls into question, its inhabitants confront their growing isolation, overconfidence in technology, loneliness below a dead world, and the insanity of a society whose momentum toward annihilation exceeded its collective will to live.”
This may help explain some of the quotes we’ve seen about society and the voice of the people. This would definitely fit the realm of Half-Life, for we know there are other alien species out there. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Horn and Co. were up against the Xenians perse, but perhaps they were aware of a similar threat that they felt they might need to be prepared for.
With all of this in mind, it makes you wonder–what if Horn is not our antagonist, but actually our protagonist? What if he was working on HALOS as a way to protect humanity from the eventuality that an alien race (or similar unknown entity) might one day decide to wipe us off the face of the Earth? In other words, HALOS might be a fail-safe that is designed to protect us from that eventuality.
I’m sure as they were exploring Xen, even though Black Mesa wasn’t actively being attacked, the thought crossed their minds at some point–if not in regards to the Xenians themselves, then surely of possible other unknown alien species out there. Perhaps Horn was simply trying to race the clock, hence his careless spending of the budget and willingness to do whatever it took (including possibly murdering his own colleagues) to ensure the continuation of the human species.
Furthermore, we know that there were further parts of Black Mesa that extended underground–perhaps they had a facility set up exactly like in the novel. You’ll notice that the rooms are called X01 and X02, which is startlingly similar to the main character of the novel, X-127.
I mean, I could totally be grasping at straws here, but the similarities are stunning.
This could also quite plainly mean that we are, at least in the realm of the ARG, all already dead.
. . . Except for maybe those deep underground . . . .
An article from 2007 that talks about a niobium thruster being used in a Minute Man ICBM. Not AI related necessarily, but possible.
I suppose it can’t hurt to begin trying keys related to the novel–here are some I’ve tried:
apocalypsis (Latin from Ancient Greek)