In an attempt to shorten the Outline page to a readable summary, here is what's happened so far. (I've attempted to leave out theory as much as possible, but if it does have some theory, it'll be italicized)
- -updated 8/21, 12:30pm EDT
Basically there's the entity named Adjutant Reflex that showed up on the bungie.net forums posting some odd comments. Popular belief is that this is an AI (or possibly a network of machines / monitors) that's resident in the Forerunner Ark (a little backstory) in eastern Africa. By the sounds of Adjutant Reflex (AR)'s posts, its system is under attack by something, but we don't yet know what. An email was also sent out to numerous people, which includes a strange glyph drawn on the background wall image. That glyph has shown up in an image on halo3.com as well. Soon after, AR also updated its avatar in the bungie.net forums to that glyph.
In a number of cities around the world (6 reported so far) - NYC, San Francisco, London, Vancouver, Chicago, and Boston - a group of people calling themselves the Society of the Ancients have been holding small rallies, and handing out flyers, trying to raise awareness for their website. The group catalogues a number of ancient discoveries, but the latest being the appearance of the symbol, the very glyph found in the email. The latest update to their website includes a link to... are you ready? A website with a countdown (link)!! It's in base 7, and it ends at midnight June 20, the start of the summer solstice.
A new Halo 3 comic print ad was found in a Circuit City flyer, and in a Best Buy ad, directing people to halo3.com/comic. But there's also a trick... read the comic, but on the last page, play around with some of the frames... you'll find 4 numbers that make an IP address (a website 126.96.36.199) which is also linked from the Society of the Ancients website.
Adjutant Reflex updated the world on its status through the bungie.net forums, as it attempted to retain integrity against its attacker. As the onslaught continued, the timer on the transmissiong log (the IP website from the comic) began speeding up. Eventually AdjutantReflex succumbed to the attacker. The site reflected this defeat with the timer halting in its tracks as it said "System failure. Root cause unknown. Rebooting." The time left, coincidentally, when treated as GPS coordinates seem to point to a suspicious location in southeastern Africa, near Voi, and near where the Ark supposedly rests. But, before AR was 'sterilyzed', it told us that it would "seek one of [us] out and leave [its] legacy in a small space".
Near midnight on June 20th, the transmission log website suddenly directed visitors to a location called "Bounce Path Control", where they were given a 'key' code, and heard a message from an unknown identity asking us to take these 'keys' and research information that would be given us to possibly avert the fate the Forerunners were led to. After 100 visitors had received their keys, the transmission log directed to the unlocked "Server 01", a number of files were made accessible by activating symbols located at various points around a rotating Forerunner object. These files seem to describe a viral outbreak, a log of data occurring moments before the initial firing of the Halos 100,000 years ago, a mysterious star map with a variant of AdjutantReflex's glyph, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.
The new AdjutantReflex continued communicating a bit in the bungie.net forums, but more significantly, the reward packages from Server 01 began trickling in. Shortly afterwards, numerous reports were made about classified ads appearing on various sites for "Flood Containment Control", a phrase found in the Slide_Ref070107.jpg. The ads included a photo of mossy flood damage, with some moss appearing in the shape of the glyph. Calling the associated 800 number led to the start of a series of recordings of a conference call between 4 people at FCC. The broken conversation seemed to be about real flooding clients that the FCC was looking into. Once all pieces of the conversation were pieced together, a new url was discovered spoken in code which led to a dynamic map of the USA.
The map showed red dots at location in every state where retail stores were located. Players were to find these stores, and go to the Xbox 360 kiosk. There they found a quote from Vigenere - a hint on how to solve a paragraph of encrypted text that was shown with every store location on the map. When decoded, the paragraph was a report speaking in code, which led to the location of Server 02. Once again, 100 keys were entered to unlock it. A number of files were made accessible by activating symbols located at various points around the rotating Forerunner object. These files were in the form of a spectrogram, a series of images of a planet, a 2nd mysterious star map, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.
The downloads section of Halo3.com was updated to offer 3 ringtones, and a few other nifty little digital swag. A fan kit was also made available, which included some assets usable for creating fansites and such, but also included a little application that would report on the status of the 5 servers (stages from locked to unlocked). A short while later, a new image in the concept art section of Halo3.com called The Device appeared. On opening the device, it waited for one of the ringtones to be played into the computer's microphone input. Once it heard the ringtone sufficiently, it 'opened', and displayed the url to the bounce path control page for Server 03. Once again, 100 keys were entered and the server was unlocked. The files made available this time were a hidden image, a a narrative, a 3rd mysterious star map, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.
In the news section of Halo3.com's Insider page, a new entry was posted and appeared 'overwritten' with a poem from Lord Byron called When We Two Parted, but slightly altered. Through the poem, extra spaces were visible before certain letters. Taking those letters in sequence spelled THECASTAWAYTHEORYVOLMAN. Taking the hint from the additional final stanza mentioning the amazon, a book was found on Amazon.com titled The Castaway Theory, by Jonas Volman. The cover of the book was the same portion of the Schrodinger Equation found hidden in 801snpow.jpg, and numerous other bits of content in the Amazon.com listing hinted at Halo-related connections, including the ISBN number of 2-061-62236-5 (188.8.131.52), the IP address of the transmission log. The book gave some potential information about the origin of Flood genetics. In the book's comments section were two comments from a Thomas Sanatos, a friend of Jonas, who revealed that Jonas had been missing since November 2005.
Thomas Sanatos posted in reply to various comments, until August 9th, when he gleefully declared that Jonas had returned! In his final comment, he included a name which appeared to be an IM address - profvol49. Assuming he's an MSN user, adding firstname.lastname@example.org to the contact list allows you 'chat' with him. (The user is actually a chatbot setup to interact with people) When asked the correct questions, Jonas revealed the link to the bounce path control for Server 04. Once again, after 100 keys were entered, the server was unlocked. The files made available this time were a DNA detail sheet, an image of a celestial body, a 4th mysterious star map, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.
The 4th starimage blatantly spelled out "The Artifact Location" - the name of a website (theartifactlocation.com), the text that each starimage, when overlayed, seemed to be spelling. The website displayed a randomized map of stars, and a password prompt. When determined the unknown.jpg was an image of the Boomerang Nebula, the password was discovered to be boomerang. Entering it presented people with a list of 3 cities - New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles - followed by a string of random characters. A few days later, the "081607" appeared beside each city name, still followed by random characters.
In the morning of August 16th, times appeared next to the dates on The Artifact Location - 23:59 by New York, and 21:00 for Seattle and LA. Something was going to happen at midnight EDT that same day. Just after 12am EDT, the final update happened, replacing the random characters with GPS coordinates. The coordinates (eventually) led people to a location in each city where a video was projected (the 5th server log) but was followed by the URL for the bounce path control for Server 05. The URL was quickly reported, and once again 100 keys were entered, unlocking the 5th server. The files made available this time were a narractive, a large image or wallpaper, a diagram depicting various properties of the earth including Pangaea, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.
A leaked article was posted to the unfiction forums from Microsoft's internal news site, seeming to indicate that the Iris campaign for Halo 3 had ended, among other details. Debates continued as to its authenticity, until an official article was discovered by writer87 posted to on halo.msn.com, confirming the completion (effectively) of Iris mid-August. Suffice to say:
- "The viral campaign concluded in mid-August but the plot thread will extend into Halo 3."
So what now?
- Society of the Ancients?
- Flood Containment Control?
- Jonas Volman and Thomas Sanatos?
- Pangaea? (the timeline of which spans much further in the past than the 100,000 years since the Halos fired)
- the Server 03, 4, and 5 rewards?
- AdjutantReflex and the Forerunner entity?
- The reason behind the name "Iris"
- The DNA sample, "MB05032", "Ghost.713", 108 (other than the sum of 5 angles in a pentagon), 001.012.034.053 (coordinates for the Ark's location?), and other vague terms and phrases that haven't been explained
For certain, however, we will get answers in Halo 3 about...
- The Forerunners
- The Ark
- The Flood
Finish the fight: September 25th