[ARG] The Pizza Code Mystery

Count only the scientist’s bodies and see how many you come up with. Horn had warned against Barney’s eating them and I believe he only wanted his fellow scientists to be exposed to the Niobium

This is my take on what HALOS is and its origins. It’s based on The Bugs episode

‘A Cage for Satan’ (phrase stated on Stormseeker’s website)

Dr Horn was attempting to build his version of CyberAx composed of “organically-grown” processors, human microchips, since ‘they are faster than Niobium processors’ just like what was happening in this particular episode of Bugs. He was taking steps in accomplishing this by exposing his fellow scientists to quantities of Niobium contained within his pizzas prior to their induction into his version of CyberAx that he named HALOS (Human Artificial Living Operating System?). Just like the Bugs episode, he was ‘collecting the brightest’ hence his being upset that security guards were eating the pizzas which leaves less for his intended victims.

This brings up the question of whether HALOS is the protagonist or the antagonist. Since it would be composed of his victims would they be trying to stop Dr Horn? Is HALOS on our side in trying to solve this problem?

I believe that there’s one serious issue with your take on Dr Horn’s movements. Horn was found dead from the Tau explosion. His wiki post said “it looks like he’s dead in the tau cannon QE room. the gibs belong to him” and then it was edited by him to add “(or do they…)”

If he was dead, then nothing happened except him dying. If this was a clone, which I’m sure it was, then you would be assuming that there were two Dr Horn’s in the same area at the same time which would make no sense for Horn to allow because then everyone on that floor would know about his little secret.

A different spin would be there is only 1 Dr. Horn, but through irresponsible portal and time travel he has created multiple timelines of himself allowing him to be all over the place. Then there was the comment of “it watches everything you do”. From this I take its an eye or a camera. Then if we go back down to the hidden room below the stairs, there is a prayer rug, with a sky deity on it. One that has been linked to ODIN. Odin, who has only 1 eye , he also has his little petting zoo gang. 2 ravens and 2 wolves. So maybe we have someone worshipping storm? Or at least has an unhealthy relationship with him unbeknownst to others. I got a couple of pictures ill put up worth a look I think. The last thing I wanted to bring up, in one of the offices near the Lepton cannon, on a table there is a cd. I dont recall any other time that I’ve seen a cd, doesnt mean there aren’t any, but I just havent seen them. Has anyone seen any in other locations?

I know its a reach, but I think there could be something to this.

What I see is 2 guards on the outer portion of the table, and 2 eyes, possibly those of his ravens? Also in the center, it looks like 2 ravens facing each other. Again, I KNOW its reaching, but something about that office doesnt sit right

Following is my take on interpreting the meaning behind Tempus omnia relevant.
(EDITED two days after my original forum post to include a new thought.)

"It has come to my attention that strange messages have been appearing throughout Black Mesa, and have been causing somewhat of a conundrum concerning what has become known as “The Pizza Code Mystery”.

I have long suspected that there was something strange going on during the development of this facility. The unexplained disappearances, misappropriation of funds regarding cheesy oven-baked bread products and an ominous feeling that something is constantly watching this all from the shadows, have added up to create something that needs solving, and solving fast. As a result, I am offering a small reward to the first person that can solve this mystery and provide me with the answers I need. Together, I’m sure you can crack this."

The first thing I want to point out is the origins of the beginning of this message. It didn’t necessarily come from HALOS or Stormseeker or Dr Horn or any other character in the game. The comment was intercepted by HALOS (INTERCEPT 099.00//a ) to add additional information. The beginning originated from http://terminal.blackmesasource.com the same URL that the developers created for the game itself. Given that, we can assume that this was actually a message from one of the game developers. Now, let’s look at the message with that in mind.

“I have long suspected that there was something strange going on during the development of this facility.”

When was Black Mesa Developed?
In the HL Universe - 1950’s
By Valve - 1997
By Crowbar Collective - 2004

Crowbar Collective is obviously the one responsible for the development of “this facility” and during that time it was being watched over, in real time, by the lead developer Carlos Montero. However, he can’t be considered to be ‘in the shadows’ since all the people working on the game knew about him.

Who is it that the developers feel is constantly watching them from the shadows?

(In game reference to ‘Seek code out. He is watching. He is AI’) Interpreted as: Seek 0418_08151814 out. HALOS is watching.

Obviously, within the game itself it is HALOS that is watching.

But, perhaps the incentive for mentioning something that is constantly watching from the shadows is that the one real life entity that actually was watching during the development of the facility, and continues to be watching ‘from the shadows’, is Valve!

Valve’s managing director Gabe Newell is quoted as saying that a complete remake of Half-Life by fans of the game using Source was “not only possible…but inevitable” When the developers formed a new 13-person team titled Black Mesa: Source . The “Source” in the project’s title was later dropped when Valve asked the team to remove it in order to “stem confusion over whether or not it was an endorsed or official product”, which it at the time it was not. Valve was watching them from the shadows . In November 2013, the team confirmed they had been given the go-ahead from Valve to release a commercial version of the Black Mesa product via Steam. Valve published a news update about the modification on their Steam digital distribution platform in 2007 saying that “We’re as eager to play [Black Mesa] here as everyone else.”

Valve has been watching over Black Mesa, from the shadows, for a long time and it began ‘during the development of this facility’. They continue to watch.

There have been a number of inside jokes within the game itself. This is just one more of them.

OBSESSED WITH TIME TEAM. Inside joke about Johnathan Welsh,
PBR - PARALAX CUBES- GEEF Inside joke about Chetan’s programming skills,
WHY ARE THERE BOATS EVERYWHERE? Inside joke about hiding out of place things like boats in maps.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Names of ARG forum participants and finally an ominous feeling that something is constantly watching this all from the shadows would also be an inside joke about Valve. This seems to coincide with the additional statement “It is one thing to communicate with something mysterious but, it is quite another to be silently observed by it. I am concerned whether it understands the same concept of reason that we do.”

The additional Latin statement Vox populi vox Dei (“the voice of the people is the voice of God.”) may also be a reference to Valve. Valve is the God of Half Life and would be viewed by the developers as their God in the development acceptance and approval of their work.

What are the unexplained disappearances?

Missing scientists from the game who were being used as test subjects for inclusion into the CyberAx AI project. It could also be another inside joke reference to original members of the Black Mesa development team who left.

What is the motivation for offering a reward to the first person that can solve this mystery?

It’s not necessarily a message from Dr Horn, it was a message from someone within the Black Mesa Source developers and I don’t believe that this “reward” is anything you should seek.

Why? Because we are nothing more than just “test subjects”.

Why is HALOS testing us? What’s the purpose?

The message specifically talks about ‘the first person that can solve this mystery’. It doesn’t use the word ‘you’ because that can be plural. Its purpose is only to see who ‘the first person’ is to resolve the problem. This ONE individual would have passed all of the tests and proven themselves worthy.

This one worthy individual will become the final, perhaps the 21st, component of the AI project……

….whether they want to or not.

Where the hell is everyone?

Busy with life and other pressing matters, I guess.

Look at this whiteboard.
TEAM 1 has 8 members
TEAM 2 has 4 members
TEAM 3 has 3 members
TEAM 4 has 5 members

That totals 20… One more, the one who solves the puzzle, and you get 21. The one who has proven himself worthy to become the final element! Remember, the 752 HALOS code stated " TEST SUBJECTS SUITABLE FOR TESTING AT MAIN FACILITY" They’re being set up for the final testing at the main facility because HALOS is located there in X01 and/or X02

BUGS is also referenced along with Storm’s reference to “A Cage for Satan” which is the title of one of only two BUGS’ episodes that’s about CyberAx.

The episode specifically talks about CyberAx being a machine that takes over some of the user’s mind. Once users have finished using the Cyberax headset, it leaves a little bit of itself behind. It becomes a virus in their mind. This coincides with Chris Horn referring to Dr Horn as being insane in one of his developer interviews. HALOS is either Black Mesa’s version of multiple personality core GLADOS or of CyberAx. GLADOS integrates you into its neural net whereas CyberAx integrates itself into you. One makes you a part of its neural network and the other doesn’t.

LOCUTUS is a reference to Star Trek TNG, where Locutus of Borg was the Borg designation forced upon Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard after he was assimilated by the Borg and he exhibited a totally different personality.

Notice that LOCUTUS is misspelled as LOCUTS. That missing letter was intentional. The only missing letter is ‘U’ which I believe means that Storm is telling us that the only thing missing from HALOS being complete is ‘YOU’.

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I dig it, and I think you might be onto something there. There’s definitely a reason it’s missing.

But how would we have been able to determine the number of team members back in 2013? Developers have come and gone since then, and Dr. Yiu isn’t even a dev alias. It would mean that, for all intents and purposes, 21 was a completely random number that weren’t supposed to make any sense until Xen had been released.

It wasn’t necessary for us to determine that at that time. Now that we are at the end, it is necessary that we understand it and that right now HALOS only has 20 of its necessary 21 cores.

It doesn’t matter. HALOS isn’t specifically looking for developers, HALOS is simply seeking the brightest and Dr. Yiu was someone who was available to HALOS that fit its criteria. Dr Yiu wasn’t affiliated with the game at all and yet is included in the story just like Bottomley wasn’t affiliated with the game at all and yet is included in the story.

We had been given clues about what was going on before Xen was released. We had the BUGS references, the specific episode that referenced CyberAx (A Cage for Satan), knowledge that HALOS was an AI and existed in BM and that GLADOS, also in the HL universe, had multiple personality cores and Chris Horn’s statement that Dr Horn was insane. Storm could have picked any number, he just used 21 in order to include a lot of his cohorts in his assimilation storyline and leave one slot for the solver.