Blog Description

This blog is a personal examination of the "Pizza Code Mystery" ARG created by Christopher Horn for the Black Mesa video game.
I will attempt to update this blog on a regular basis, for as long as the ARG is in existence and folks are willing to attempt to solve it.
This will not be a complete overview of the clues and such associated with the ARG--you can find a complete, up-to-date version of that material here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Hope you all enjoy your time off from work, school, and your busy lives in general.  They say this is one of the most stressful times of the year for some folks, and I just hope you all take some much needed downtime and relaaaaaaaax.

And may it truly be a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Story Thus Far . . . .

I think, as Stormseeker has indicated, that it is vital we compose a storyline of what has occurred thus far.  That said, I will be doing so in this post.  I will then be including a consistent link to this post on the link bar to the right, and will also update the Wiki to showcase this storyline.  If I have missed any vital parts, do not hesitate to let me know.  I want to make this as complete as possible to best accommodate the ARG.

The story:

When we first discovered the codes, we noted that there were four codes to be found.  These codes were set up by Dr. Horn, which led us to realize it was Stormseeker (Chris Horn) setting up the majority of this.  The primary code D, the one that led to the last digits needed for the "thepizzaisalie" site, was directed to a Dr. Bottomley, who has since been identified as one of Storm's friends.

There were also a couple of IRC clues given prior to the solving of the other web-based clues.  These were:

  1. The IRC clue "editing" the Konami Code cipher (Code A), although it has been hinted that the original form "bon ami" was intentional, for it means "good friend".  This chat clue also states, "Don't let him find us--Dr. Welsh", suggesting that Dr. Welsh was a key player in the ARG, as well.  We found out later, via Welsh's profile site, that this is the case.
  2. The second IRC clue that first mentions coordinates:
N38°57'8.05" W77°8'44.82".
Solution two ignore loc data N32°52'50.77" W106°20'49.40" not buried at 
initial loc, fly here.
Travel 14.16 miles east we transferred the niobium there.
Await further instructions.

And broken into pieces:

38° 57' 8.05 N 77° 8' 44.82" W The Kryptos Statue in CIA Headquarters, Washington 32° 52' 50.77 N 106° 20' 49.40" W White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
-15' 49.35" W 14.16 miles East of the first location leads to a Domino's Pizza in Washington
-14' 39.84" W 14.16 miles East of the second locationleads to a fairly deserted looking area close to Hollomans Air Force Base mentioned in IRC clue 3 .

    3.   The second location clue: 

41Nb recovered. HAFB Compromised.
Transfer to site complete, project HALOS underway. Further INFO [Classified].
CODE BASE 64 compromised, switch to old code talker.
They are watching, assume leaker on site.
WSMR No longer viable location, move to main site, check external sources.

Now, we have no idea who these messages are being sent to, but we can speculate that they originate with Dr. Horn because they mention the missing / hidden X01 and X02 rooms.  They also mention the HALOS project which has become synonymous with Dr. Horn's later clues.

After discovering the website and solving the binary puzzle, we then began getting web-based puzzles.  These began with this puzzle, that turned out to be Base 64 with a Navajo message inside of it, which then needed a Playfair cipher to finish it off:,1,3,?OTR:[I---MI-G TR
--SMI---ON - UN---WN S##RCE]
Access detected to personal site.
Security compromised.
HALOS project under threat. Site offline as response. Switching to new protocols.
[********] ~[OTR//2.0]

 Solved portion: 
After solving this, we received another clue in chat, also in Base64 that used a one-time pad encryption. Brute-forcing it using key words eventually led to it being solved:


Solved portion:

"This is a message left for Dr. Horn. Just to remind you in case of 
emergencies that the password to the HALOS files is BENALOHPAILLIER. I 
have programmed HALOS to send in level seven cases. You should bring 
We now see that we have a login for the HALOS project, as well as a password.  Furthermore, there is someone else sending these messages because they are being sent to Dr. Horn.  Could it be Welsh?  Bottomley?  Or a new entity altogether?

Lastly, we received a new file on the "thepizzaisalie" site--this HALOS.txt file is the one we're stuck on now, and the message is thus:


B32B003A 35BADD66 577C24C1 4FC91906 4346D131 A7C54BB8 2FFE03E0 22615777
247923DC 21F62CD4 182E91C3 B267B545 ABCAEDAF 0261510D 4EEA1E87 CD33C7C7
7131309C C4280EB4 243D1154 F044F9CF 6296D9BF F7397E43 90987FE6 3203DA0D
E40278B3 A54F5DDC 6975FA04 F749849E 1A62595A 9F630B07 95913DE0 153E3AAC
388C45FB 9D850CFE 913541D6 C08398F2 C88332A8 2FDF0028 1D62FCDC 4FE7E46A
E90C51C5 C806B411 64E33AB9 2C96862E 068B0C16 C09990B8 381A00DA 7915B67F
E4A20F59 9B0F1B6D 481913C7 B9538CEE 639144F4 1561BA92 E4FE751D 1E242CD8
8F51D695 51988713 6A7C15AA BD7B4004 49220141 30A91F17 0F66CCB3 C139463A
7E909A37 AA863FB2 7805FC97 31C09C8C 79067E79 930A4065 46B24C9A 629B26C2
CE2A4BE4 8F589A37 5FEB731F C4AB225C 11848CF8 9E291FB2 7133970C 06361847
4A892801 EDD68F54 698C5E5B 506746F6 765A6F7F 1225DEA4 DA1140FE B60F6507
45241C69 3695883D CB21E6FB FEFBB85A 29919480 36A52B5D

[/][End Transmission]|¬[ABORTIVE.] ~~ [Transmission Ends]]

We may be stuck here, but I think we have all the information we need.  We have a login and a password, and I don't think the password is a direct key to the actual cipher, but should simply be used to access the HALOS site, whatever that may be.  We seem to have overlooked the other clues, and I think we need to put them together to make this next big leap and pass through the gate to the next portion.  With this in mind, maybe we need to look at other possible sites / links that have previously been added or left undiscovered.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Absence and The Latest Clues

Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for my month-long extended absence.  Around 7pm today I finished my last final of the semester, and this last three weeks has been a doozy (to say the least).  First and foremost, I want to apologize for letting this blog die a bit in that time.  I never intended to take this long to get back in the game, but every time I sat down to update something else popped up.  Thankfully, I've got a full two and a half weeks to relax . . .

And crack some pizza codes.

So where are we now?  I've taken some time reviewing the forums, particularly the wiki page update.

First of all . . . I like it.  It means that this clue is supposed to be difficult, and I think we've come to our next "gate". 

The letters italicized in the original terminal message spell out:  "seek out code he is watching"

It's written like that on purpose; it's not seek out the code, he is watching, but rather seek out Code_ who is a user on the IRC chat.  Code_ is also 0418_08151814 on the forums.  Perhaps he is an extension of the ARG, perhaps not.  But I think it's clear that this is what the message intends for us to think.  Whether it's a red herring or not is left to be determined.

Noting this, I think we all need to pay special attention to what he mentions.  Furthermore, I think you've all thrown in some very, very interesting things on the forum, and I get that feeling that we are on the correct path.  This last code surely has to do with the Niobium, as seen by the inclusion on the wiki page.  

I have an opinion about who is watching--I think the AI is some extension of Stormseeker himself.  Whether that extension is a program he created, or a scapegoat for fulfilling his own desires at getting back at Dr. Stone and Dr. Welsh, I think there is a third party here "watching" us.

As for the code itself, it may be a very complicated cipher, but it might also be a hint at something else.  We've gotten through some difficult ciphers (the one-time pad comes to mind), and this might be a change-up just to throw us off the path.  Perhaps there is some sort of substitution intended with the Niobium mention.  

I will see what I can do with the new information, and will update if I find anything.  I'm glad to see that you folks have kept this very much alive while I've been in school, and I look forward to seeing what's to come.  Oh, and before I forget--expect a new poll and rate-it question soon!