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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Take on the Pizza Code Mystery Story

Please note before you read this that this is simply my take on the entire Pizza Code Mystery story, and is not something that should be considered set in stone by any means.  Hopefully, by highlighting some key points and putting my personal spin on them, it will incite some ideas.

So, without further ado, here it is:

I think it has become rather obvious that Dr. Horn set up the HALOS project in the X01 and X02 rooms of the BMRF.  As we can see from the letter on Welsh's website, only Dr. Horn, Paul Bottomley, and perhaps Dr. Junek had access to the HALOS project.  Furthermore, Horn was using the lab budget to buy pizzas and fund the project.  In an attempt to get back at Dr. Horn, Welsh and some of his buddies decide to play a prank on him by taking his pizzas and hiding them throughout the facility.

Before we get to that, however, it's important to understand what we can about the HALOS project.  It is definitely some sort of artificial intelligence--we can derive that from a number of sources:
  • The whiteboard in "Anomolous Materials" that has a note directed to Paul Bottomley that asks him to call J.D. Marcel on ext. 1187-463 about the Niobium-5 that he needs for that "AI project 'thing'".  It is signed "Dr. Montero"
  • The Tempus omnia revelant page added to the wiki has a section that shows a report with the author as {HALOS AUTOMATED}
  • The messages sent out by "someone mysterious" are probably partially sent out by the HALOS AI, particularly because of the way they are worded.  They sound very machine-like and inorganic.
That said, the HALOS project is definitely a very crucial entity to Dr. Horn, and it seems as though the HALOS system is still in contact with Dr. Horn after he "escaped" the BMRF. 

So what about the relationship between Horn and Welsh?  Well, apparently Horn got pretty pissed off that Welsh was taking his "misbegotten goods", as we can see from the image attached with the wiki page that Horn scribbled all over in red.  He writes, "Stone will pay" and "Steals it, eats it".  Either Horn really loves his pizza, or he is pissed that his secret funding is a bust.  My money's on the latter.

When all hell breaks loose in the Black Mesa facility, Horn gets out.  Paul Bottomley is dead (or is he?), probably killed by the military.  Everyone else is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Horn knows he's the last man standing that can continue the HALOS project--so, what does he do?  He activates the AI project, basically giving it the option to fend for itself.

This is where the IRC chat clues come into play.  I believe these are coming from someone in an attempt to give Horn directions and aid him in setting up another HALOS site.  The second IRC chat clue points him towards Niobium, a vital ingredient for the HALOS project (as we saw on the "Anomolous Materials" whiteboard).  The third clue states that the 41Nb was recovered and that the HAFB was compromised.  Perhaps this is Horn sending this message to the secretive individual that sent the first message.  However, it's important to note the Tempus omnia revelant wiki page that mentions "...Sending MINDAT via HAFB".  Either Horn or the HALOS AI was sending mineral data via the Hollomans Air Force Base.

In the same clue that identifies HAFB as being compromised, the message identifies the White Sands Missile Range as "no longer viable", then suggests that the message's receiver move to the main site.  The next IRC chat message then states that access was detected at the personal site, the security therefore compromised.  It identifies the HALOS project as being under threat, then states that the site is offline as a response.  There was an embedded message as well:

prime site compromised return bmrf login halos

The next message definitely appears as though it arises from an AI, for it is in all caps and is attempting multiple methods of attack--it also appears to be attempting to connect to Horn, as it says, "ATTEMPTING CONNECT TO USER H . . . ." 

Finally, we are left with the message left for Dr. Horn (by whom?) that reminds him of the password "BENALOHPAILLIER" in case of emergencies.  And, as we know, there has obviously been a serious emergency.  It also says, "You should bring pizzas", which means that the person (or thing) sending this message was part of the original HALOS project at BMRF, which then identifies why Horn had to buy so much pizza.  Whoever was helping Horn with the HALOS project seemed to love pizza, which makes me wonder if the strange messenger is in fact Paul Bottomley.  They were working together at BMRF, so it makes sense that it would be Bottomley.

And then we come to the latest clue.  It appears to be sent by the HALOS AI, stating that the primary site is offline and the primary servers are overloaded.  It then mentions that a user activation is required--PASSCODE INPUT FOR SITE ACTIVATION REQUIRED, and the final test pattern has been set. 

So, alas, this is where we stand.  BMRF is toast, completely annihilated by the combination of forces Gordon Freeman had to deal with.  Horn is on the run, perhaps holed up in some remote location attempting to get back into the HALOS AI program, or even attempting to reroute it to his current location.  The message left by Bottomley about bringing pizzas suggests he is still alive and still in contact with Horn.  Welsh is holed up somewhere too, because he is responsible for the first IRC chat clue.  Either that or it was sent before the onset of the BMRF massacre and he is now toast because of it.

Anyway, I've done the best I can to provide some sort of narrative, and even if it's completely wrong (which I'm sure a good chunk of it is), I hope it will still spark some fresh lines of thought. 

Storyline Work

It was brought to my attention on the Wiki that the information I had composed was more of a summary of clues rather than an actual storyline.  That said, I have printed out all of the information I gathered from the in-game sources, the IRC chat clues, and everything else.  From this, I will be utilizing my narrative skills (be warned:  they are limited) to compose an actual storyline that we can all (hopefully) relate to and develop ideas from.