[ARG] The Pizza Code Mystery

Holy crap, you guys actually did it? Congratulations!!!
You guys are absolute legends!!!

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Kudos to everyone involved, especially Gunsrequiem and Flavrans.
For completeness sake: The IV is the all-zero vector (like @Gunsrequiem posted).

mcrypt --decrypt -s 32 --no-openpgp -k 173467321476Charlie32789777643Tango732Victor73117888732476789764376 -b -a rijndael-256 -m CFB --keymode mcrypt-md5 --noiv -F < HALOS.bin 2>/dev/null
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So, we still have some unsolved things we need to figure out:

Unsolved Points

“Time reveals all” - We still don’t know what this is in reference to

“Pizzas” - I think the pizzas might have something to do with Scwuffy Myon, who was “many times accused of stealing snax from other people, however its only really borrowing, they didn’t want the snax anyway, thats why they were lying there and not eaten. “

Also, there are pizzas in the game Guild Wars 2:

The two HEV suits that have “HORN” nameplates

Where is Dr. Horn?

The whole “This unlocks at the start of the end. 21 into 1.” remains unsolved, although that could pertain to the whole giving the passcode thing. Although my theory on the 21 into ONE (as it’s written on the whiteboard) is the Asuran script–essentially, the N and the E symbols look like the numbers 2 and 1.

Oh shit, it actually happened. Good job guys! It’s amazing how fast it went down after all these years.

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Never thought i would live to see this, congrats guys, especially Guns and Flavrans.

I have few questions though:

  1. why was only a part of password from st:tng used? Why not whole?
  2. is this the end?
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It’s only part of the password because only the first 32 bytes (256 bits) are used, since it’s Rijndael 256-bit.

As for this being the end, Storm has indicated the ARG is more story-driven, so although we don’t have further puzzles at the moment, the key to “solving” it is determining how everything is connected. Also:

  • Is Dr. Horn dead? If not, where is he?
  • How are the Myons involved?
  • What’s the deal with the two “HORN” HEV suits?
  • What is the deal with the pizza? Is it GW2-related, or something else?
  • What is HALOS, and what is its purpose?
  • Even though “21 into ONE” could be from the Asura script letters, it hasn’t been confirmed. If it’s not that, then what is it?

These are all things still left unanswered, and there may be a few I’m forgetting. The key is to put them all together and see what the whole story is.

I recently mentioned that my take on it is that Dr. Horn was the in-game avatar of Chris Horn (or possibly someone else), and that person kept being drawn back into GW2. This would explain why the other scientists talk about Dr. Horn disappearing and reappearing at will. It would also explain the extra “HORN” HEV suits–essentially, they were “previous runs” of the Xen level in which the player (in this case, likely Chris Horn) died. So maybe he got frustrated and went back to GW2?

I don’t know–there’s something very meta about it that I think will end up breaking the fourth wall, and there may be WAY more to the story than we know. I expect we will receive more information soon, likely after Storm has time to get his new PC up and running and figure out how to present whatever leftover data there is to us.

Stay tuned!

I can only speak for myself, but the Data uses the NATO alphabet to spell the letters, where only the first letter is of import, the rest is redundancy to cover for bad channels (think of it as an error correcting coding of sorts). The computer also only writes down the first letter, so I didn’t think of actually spelling out the whole thing. I thought we still lacked the proper transformation from Data’s passphrase to the 32 bytes needed for the cipher, but it turns out that this was just plain md5-hashing (and repeating) :slight_smile:

As for 2.:

[17:52][LD] Stormseeker: The arg is almost done
[17:52][LD] Stormseeker: you all just need to work out exactly whats going on
[17:53][LD] Stormseeker: which isnt done yet :3

Edit: Also, due to all the waveguide and projection talk on the whiteboards we started wondering whether HALOS is not only an AI but also coupled to some holographic projector. This might explain the two Dr. Horns, maybe one of them is only a hologram

DIARY LOG OF DR WELSH:

……I got a call from Dr Stone over in Sector C, and he thinks Dr Horn has been misappropriating funds from the lab budget to buy pizzas with and fund some secret project we don’t have the access levels to get at. Only Dr Horn and Dr Bottomley seem to have access to those rooms, hmm perhaps Dr Junek too…

All I know is, we had a complaint from the main administrator Dr Montero that Lab D funding had a grossly disproportionate impact on the lab funding, especially considering work currently under way on the biodome in the sub levels of the facility.

We have a plan though to get back at Dr Horn, we’re going to steal all his misgotten goods, and hide them throughout the whole facility, he’ll spend months looking for them.

Was Dr Horn taking money from his BM budget in order to buy more pizzas in GW2?

Was Welsh hiding them in order to prevent Storm from gaining the enhanced abilities that pizza offers?

Do Bottomley, Junek. Stone and possibly Welsh also play GW2?

Does X01 and X02 contain apparatus that enables a way to get to GW2?

Was Dr Horn acquiring pizzas in order to enhance his abilities in GW2?

Ability enhancements of pizza ,

From https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Food

Expertise

Condition Damage

Mushroom Pizza +50 Expertise
+40 Condition Damage
Fancy Veggie Pizza +60 Expertise
+50 Condition Damage
Super Veggie Pizza +80 Expertise
+60 Condition Damage
Rare Veggie Pizza +100 Expertise
+70 Condition Damage

All, except for the Cheese Pizza, allow you to earn a Feast of Pizzas that you can share with anyone in the area. The feast stays active for only 5 minutes.

Yesterday was an incredible day. Years of perseverance and persistence, highs and lows, have finally paid off. Like with the Code D holding puzzle, it was Gunsrequiem who made the final leap in deciphering the 752 hex. Fantastic job.

Just for correctness sake, in the excitement last night, when I first posted the deciphered text on Discord, I just copied the output from my script, which was an ASCII dump where linefeeds were replaced by periods. Here’s the correctly formatted text with the linefeeds intact:

HALOS REPORT - SUBJECTS SHOW REMARKABLE TENACITY AND ABILITIES TO USE AVAILABLE TOOLS AT HAND. DETECTED CAMBRIDGE COMP SCI LABS. TEST SUBJECTS SUITABLE FOR TESTING AT MAIN FACILITY. 
PROJECT FILES SECURED. REMAIN SECURE UNTIL PASSCODE GIVEN 
OMEGA LEVEL - [1-7-3-4-6-7-3-2-1-4-7-6-Charlie-3-2-7-8-9-7-7-7-6-4-3-Tango-7-3-2-Victor-7-3-1-1-7-8-8-8-7-3-2-4-7-6-7-8-9-7-6-4-3-7-6]

The cipher details are on the wiki.

Wow. We solved the HEX Code? Well Done Ladies and Gents.

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It makes more and more sense that Dr Horn was traveling between GW2 and Black Mesa. and I believe this is where the story line leads us.

Remember this statement?

“HALOS is far too complete to stop now. They can’t hide there, not now, not now I have this, {is he speaking of GW2?} this holds the key to all things… they CAN’T hide from me. I will follow them, I’ll set up a link and this to remind me.”

That comment was made on November .3, 2012. Guild Wars 2 was released just a few days prior to this statement that he made!

See my post about 3 posts above.

EDITED INFO:
I had originally asked if Bottomley, Junek. Stone and possibly Welsh also played GW2. Today, I found some information verifying that Chris Horn, Paul Bottomley and Johnathan Welsh actually do play GW2

A statement from Stormseeker’s “Meet the Myons” where he explains the origin of his name as Kal Stormseeker: This was originally the name I chose for Elder Scrolls Online, when John, Paul and I were playing the Beta, and decided to leave it due to monthly payments for Guild Wars 2

So at least the three of them left Elder Scrolls and went to GW2.

So you did it? I mean… it is solved?! Ya’ll should post your findings on the steam forums so everyone can applaud your tenacity!

We have solved the holding cipher puzzle, the 752 hex code, but we haven’t fully solved the narrative part of the ARG – that is, worked out exactly what is going on.

Also, the solution to the 752 hex contains a passcode for site activation, but we don’t know if that is part of a new puzzle, or something that will come into play, given how long it has been, and the fact that bmrf.us has been down for a while. Storm has said that the conclusion to the ARG is in-game.

We have also figured out that the mysterious gate in Dr. Horn’s Xen lair was a reference to Guildwars 2, and we have deciphered the mysterious symbols found on Dr. Horn’s “conspiracy” whiteboard. The symbols spell out the word “MYONS”. It turns out that the Myons are a family of characters that Storm has created in the Guildwars 2 universe. This has opened up a whole new series of lingering questions as to how the Guildwars 2 references relate to the ARG.

And we still haven’t worked out exactly what “21 into 1” means.

Or the holographic assistant setup from hazard course…

Also, something to consider, instead of “myons” how about “muons”… apparently that was what the guild was supposed to be called… but pappy fkd up or something along those lines. Also, the CMS at Cern is something that should be revisited… “Compact Muon Solenoid” pretty sure I’ve seen a picture of it in game. This is an image of it, not from in game, but from Cern… Fun fact, its 21 meters long. 300px-CMS_Under_Construction_Apr_05

@drgibbles Or what if, instead of “Myons”, how about “Mions”. It’s a city in France where it’ll be exactly 21 degrees tonight.

And because 21 goes into 1, it means that tomorrow it will be 1 degrees Celsius, near freezing temperatures, because of a resonance cascade at the CERN facility. :stuck_out_tongue:

Got a couple of comedians here…

I apologize if the joke was offensive.

That said, muons are very much a topic of interest. Like the tau particle, the muon is a lepton, but with much lower mass than that of a tau. After all, Dr. Horn was also working on the tau cannon. The question is how the muons fit in with whatever he was building or working on.

Nope, not offensive. My career was in the military, I dont think there is much you can say to offend me. Something about muons, Particle beams. Particle beams are distinguished by the mass of the particle being accelerated, ranging from the lighter of the subatomic particles (electrons and muons), to neutral atoms (so-called neutral beams), to small assemblages of plasma (called plasmoids), up to macroscopic particles. Each of these technologies must be pursued for the realization of a high-energy particle beam capable of destroying the hardest of targets, the reentry vehicle. Lots of talk going way back about the potential of using beam weapons I’ve seen one pdf on it from the early 80’s. Also, in game there are a few monitors that have screens that are scrolling and talking about different elements and ratios, then for no identifiable reason there are the 3 letters by themselves and all In caps I believe… CMS. Also pictures of what I believe is the CMS at cern in game. Another thing in game, a lot of monitors have direct copy and paste results from experiments at Cern. All that data that is on those monitors can be looked up by the experiment numbers and run numbers. Decay rates of muons and other stuffs, can be somewhat manipulated by different speeds and relativity.

Also! I think that what might be happening with Dr. Horn being he discovered something “interesting” when using the portals and stuffs to get to xen. I think that there are more than 2 Dr. Horns, and that he discovered when using the portals to get to xen that it would create duplicates of himself. Similar to the move “The Prestige” when tesla was trying to make Hugh Jackmans character a portal device. He didn’t quite get there, however he did find that when the portal device was used, instead of transporting him, it would make carbon copies of what was supposed to be transported and spawn the copied item a distance away from the portal device. IF something like this is happening with Dr. Horn it would explain why there are so many different preferences of food for Dr. Horn. One may love pizzas, one may love chicken etc… if different Dr. Horns are working around Black Mesa, why couldnt they have different taste in food? Something to note with this is the time reveals all comment. In game, many clocks are frozen in different times. Some clocks have nothing moving. On another clock it can be seen that just the second hand is moving. On another clock, all 3 hands are moving and actual changing of time is happening. However only for a little while, when you find it, the time on it is about 7:35… and it will only move for a little while, eventually the hour hand and minute hand freeze. If different experiments are being attempted with portal technology they are likely to have different side effects, one stopping time, one only advancing by 1 minute, another by advancing several minutes. Changing the the timeline in a back to the future kind of way. So the different copies of Dr. Horn are just the original Dr. Horn but becoming unstuck in time at different intervals ala “the slaughterhouse 5”. How would Dr. Horn identify himself from different timelines? Perhaps assigning a certain food to each discovered version of Dr. Horn, (Only the Dr. Horns would know about this) and it would likely go undetected by other members of staff. One Dr. Horn being the Yin to another Dr. Horns Yang.

One last thing to report on, if you go through the wayback machine and checkout different versions of Storms website when it was up. If you search each page for for black on black writing. You will find one page that has hidden on it "OMG:/ ^^VV^^VV L R L R. A different variation of the Konami code that may be implying the ways leptons and quarks interact with the spins and charges… Also remember the model of the Jet on his desk, it sits next to glue… So one could jump from that to the term “Gluon Jet” have a google moment if you will.

Also, Dr. Stone REALLY likes chicken.

EDIT: Was thinking about why timelines are sped up or slowed down. Traveling a likely huge amount of distance via the portals, covering more ground faster than the speed of light, which would greatly alter time, IF you take into account the distance traveled at FTL speeds would be ever oscillating due to the movement of our solar system and xen’s solar system going in different directions at different speeds. GREATLY CHANGES the time dilation effect with varying speeds faster than light.