Posted by: env420 | June 14, 2009

Game Over

Well I’m sad to say that our unofficial Lost ARG has come to a premature end. After waiting and waiting, our PM has decided to end our journey here, but not before giving us the scoop on what would have happened.

It became clear that players were losing interest and getting frustrated with all of the waiting. Personally I noticed that fewer and fewer people were engaged in the Unfiction forum and we were losing valuable players every day. So rather than let us flounder, Mr. PM decided to give it to us straight. But not before dishboy put fan-made ARGs into perspective for us newbies, explaining that the PMs of fan-made ARGs sometimes don’t have the resources or time to complete their venture.

“Unfortunately, this happens a lot of the time when you’re dealing with “fan-made” ARGs – people don’t always have the time and resources to put on a good, long-running production when they’re not being paid to do it. That’s why the good ones are few and far in-between (but those that are good, are GOOD).”

This being my first ARG personally, I do not really have the experience to say this was a good ARG. But in my opinion, this ARG rocked and I’m glad I was able to be a part of the action. I’ve met a lot of really great people and I hope we can all continue to be friends.

Mr. PM was gracious enough to tell us the whole story on the Unfiction forum. His story is as follows:

“Hi everyone,

I’m the PM for this game, and sadly dishboy brings up some good points. I initially came up with some ideas for this ARG way back during the LOST Experience, and being a huge fan of the show and ARGs in general, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at a fan-made one based on one of my favorite things ever. I played with some ideas in my head, and sat on them for a while, until about the beginning of season 5. Discovering the significance of the Island’s movement, mixed with the shady dealings of Hanso revealed in TLE and the bits of Jacob-related lore sprinkled throughout the series, I came up with a premise that I thought would work well in ARG form. I started writing out some plot details, working on a couple websites, and coming up with ideas as the show aired. And then it all kind of culminated with the last few episodes of the season, and from there I thought I would launch the ARG for real, and set up a schedule for a game that would last through to the end of July, on a day with mythological significance to my story and immediately following what might be the only place we would get any meaningful information about the show until next year (Comic Con). That way fans would hopefully have something LOST-related to do while the show is in hiatus, and I would be able to get my creative juices flowing, even if it was in the form of what is essentially interactive fan fiction.

Unfortunately, the realities of balancing something like that with a hectic job were too much to handle, which was something I did not foresee. I had some of the early parts of the game planned out and completed weeks in advance, and with a schedule to work with, I didn’t think I could possibly fall behind. But then I began to have busier work days than others, social engagements I couldn’t blow off, and complete creative blocks that really slowed things down. I tried to work around this, by cutting out some minor plot details and websites, but it wasn’t enough. Even after taking a week off from regular updates to work on some stuff, real-life situations called, and things were still piled up and way behind schedule. And with a whole month and a half left, I really didn’t know how to continue. It was either tell a really watered-down version of my original story with constant delays, or call it quits. And sadly, I thought it would be fairer to my audience if I went with the latter option.

So it is with a lot of regret and disappointment that I announce the end of this game. I had a lot of fun working on it when it was still easy to manage, and I am eternally grateful to all of you who remained dedicated despite all the ups and downs. This was the first time I had ever really put a lot of my writing out there, and even with the criticism, it gave me a bit of creative confidence to know that something I wrote actually seemed to entertain people. I wish it could have been better, but even so, the fact that people cared enough to discuss it on Twitter, WordPress, Facebook and even make a Wiki about it means a lot to me. So I thank everyone who theorized, tried their hands at solving my admittedly amateurish puzzles and kept this thread so active. Also, mad props to porridgebrain for the LostARG blog. The fact that someone took their time to compile such a comprehensive and well-written summary of the events of my little game really amazes me. And yes, the “breakthrough” page on the 8th Spoke website was a reference to your blog post.

So yeah. I’m really disappointed and saddened that this didn’t pan out as I had hoped, and I hope all of you who were so dedicated can find it in your hearts to forgive me for cutting this short so soon. If I’ve learned anything from this it’s to have the entire game planned out and actually produced before going forward with it. If I ever do something like this again, I promise to actually have it all worked out beforehand. I’m deeply sorry if anyone feels lead on or bummed out that the endgame never came to fruition. I wish this could have worked out.

But with that said, I didn’t think it would be fair to leave you all hanging. Here’s the general outline of how the rest of the game would have played out:

James Lear of the Facebook group would have lead you in the direction of one Andrew Descartes, an old friend of Nathan’s from Widmore Construction. He worked with various Widmore subsidiaries, one of which was a company called Hausdorff Construction, who general construction duties for the I. Theta Project had been outsourced to. A backdoor into their website would have revealed that they had severed ties with Widmore after an accident on the building site of the primary I. Theta reactor, which resulted in the death of an employee. Hausdorff suspected that a former employee named Richard Poncelet was involved in the sabotage of the reactor, who Aidoneus would reveal to be a member of the 8th Spoke.

Following this, the Chenchey website would have been updated with a press release regarding a large-scale drilling operation in Grantfork, IL, saying that they would combat claims by Widmore that they are infringing on their rights to the location. The two companies had spent the last three years trying to settle a dispute regarding who actually owned the land, but recently Chenchey had won out, since Widmore had ceased operations at the site following the accident.

Aidoneus then would have taken over the 8th Spoke website completely, telling Elliott that the group had discovered the identity of his “inside man” and killed him. He would then reveal the information his informant had discovered before his death: that the I. Theta Project was short for Isla Theta, a plan to create a massive reactor that taps into a mysterious flow of exotic energy that manifests itself in certain “hotspots” around the globe. This energy would then be gathered in a single location (Grantfork) via a series of eight relays (the eight locations around the U.S.). When released in small intervals this energy would elicit certain effects within the people in close proximity to it, in the form of things like the miraculous healing of wounds and disease. Widmore hoped to simply capitalize on this, thinking it would be an excellent investment.

The exact locations of these hotspots were discovered after monitoring sensors picked up mysterious “surges” of energy in the 1970s, and several times throughout 2004 and early 2005. The original surges in the 1970s where what caused Widmore to begin monitoring this energy, and they noticed that the energy in certain locations would be “amplified” when a surge occurred. They waited many years for the surges to occur again, and when they did, they were able to take more accurate readings which allowed them to go to the locations where the energy was amplified the strongest, and deduce the nature of it. They accomplished this, and hoped the I. Theta Project would create an artificial replica of the “source” of this energy. Things were going along smoothly for a time, but then their equipment was mysteriously damaged and an employee of the construction team was killed, so they were forced to halt operations and scrap the project.

However, Aidoneus discovered that Alexander Berne, working with members of the Chenchey Institute, was hoping to reestablish a variant of the I. Theta Project, and harness the energy for reasons other than scientific progress. They wanted to use the energy for something else, something Aidoneus’ source felt could be very dangerous and would get many people killed.

Later, r33pich33p would reveal that Niel Heisenberg overheard Oleg Nosovi discussing these plans, and fearing Niel would talk, Nosovi hired Francisco Nitti’s crime family to assassinate him. He succeeded, and Niel was killed.

r33pich33p would also reveal that Chenchey’s plan was to work with Alexander Berne to have the I. Theta Project sabotaged, which they accomplished when the Hausdorff employee was killed. When the Project was scrapped Chenchey hoped to pick up the pieces and capitalize on it themselves, while simultaneously allowing Berne to use the facility for his own purposes, in return for aiding them in getting Widmore off the Project.

r33pich33p would then inform players that she had repeated all of this information to the authorities, because she had a personal stake in what had occurred. She wouldn’t have revealed her identity, but given that I’m referring to her as a female, I’m sure you can figure it out.

The following day, the Chenchey website would have been updated with a press release stating that the employees involved in the aforementioned dealings had all (obviously) been fired and charged with murder. Chenchey would also announce that they would close their doors for the time being to heal and restructure, and that all active projects had been canceled, including the joint “Food for Life Campaign” with Hanso, who in turn would announce that they had severed all ties with the Institute.

All of these I. Theta and Chenchey-related revelations would have occurred in June 27th and the day following, and would have marked the end of the first chapter. Going forward, the objective would have been to stop Alexander Berne, who was never charged or captured because he was still presumed dead, and who remained on the run in his attempt to realize his plans.

Later, Elliott would inform players that he believed he had made a breakthrough, since he had received a phone call from a storage facility that was closing down, where a variety of his father’s papers were being stored. In the papers would be a document from a researcher named Johann von Ranke, who studied ancient civilizations, and whose website would discuss and feature a photograph of Egyptian symbols discovered on a stone slab in the Pacific. This photograph would have been credited to a man named Arthur Calimach, someone investigating his father’s disappearance much like Elliott is investigating Nathan’s, and who believes his father is in the same location as the Black Rock.

Aidoneus would then post a message he intercepted from Berne, revealing that his plans would be finalized by July 27th. Aidoneus would also point players in the direction of a website called Conspiraspies Unite!, a conspiracy theory website discussing such things as mysterious beings who take men away to “paradise,” the nefarious dealings of Chenchey and Hanso, the disappearance of the Black Rock, and the significance of the number 27. It would also feature a page from the Black Rock’s manifest, and the 27th listed name would be Simeon Hobbes.

Aidoneus would reveal that he had known about this for some time, since he had been interested in the Black Rock’s history in the past, but didn’t feel it had any significance, since the Black Rock disappeared 200 years ago and no one could have lived that long. Elliott would respond to this, a bit peeved that it was held back from him, but agree that they couldn’t possibly be the same person. However, he would speculate that since someone by the same name had seemingly “recruited” various members of his family over a 108 year period, that perhaps it was a title carried on by various people over that time, originating from the original passenger of the Black Rock.

Later, Aidoneus would discover that Alexander Berne participated in the origin of the DHARMA Initiative, which would prompt Elliott to seek information on them. He would discover that his father’s friend Allen Wilczek was a member, which would lead to a website called DHARMA Veterans, a members-only club. A hack from Aidoneus would give players access, and on the website the 8th Spoke would be discussed. All members of DHARMA Veterans had previously been members of the 8th Spoke, but after Berne began to act strangely, they parted ways. They still attended the annual remembrance ceremony together, but fearing that Berne had “gone off the deep end,” they severed all ties with his group.

Following this, Aidoneus would have posted a warning on the 8th Spoke’s website, telling Elliott that he had tracked down Berne, who was finalizing his plans. He would also tell Elliott to go to a safe place because they were sending someone after him.

On July 26th, Elliott would have blogged that he was in a safe place, and that he was a bit disappointed he would most likely have to spend his birthday in an undisclosed location. Just after that though, r33pich33p would return to inform Elliott of something shocking: the identity of Aidoneus.

Not trusting him and suspecting him to be a member of the 8th Spoke trying to manipulate Elliott, r33pich33p began to monitor Aidoneus, and was able to track down his physical location. Following this, she found him in a cafe and took his picture, and proceeded to scan it through a variety of databases, until it turned up a match in a missing person’s one: all along, Aidoneus was actually Nathaniel Graves, Elliott’s brother. Utterly baffled and devastated by this, Elliott would then demand that “Aidoneus” explain.

Aidoneus would then reveal that he was, in fact, Nathan. He would have explained that, as he was growing up, he always wanted to know what had happened to the members of his family, much like Elliott had. As he looked into his family’s papers he discovered many of the things Elliott did, in particular Simeon Hobbes, and began to research. He had trouble, however, because the information contained within them was limited, so he decided to use his knowledge of computers to aid him. He began to hack the Hanso family’s archives, where he found information on the Black Rock, and discovered that someone named Simeon Hobbes was a passenger on board that ship. He secretly hoped there was some significance to this, and desperately wanted to be recruited like his father was.

Later, in 2005, he began working for Widmore. He was presented with the opportunity to take part in the I. Theta Project, and gladly began work on it, but as 2006 came, he found that he couldn’t concentrate. His 27th birthday was quickly approaching, and he wondered if Simeon Hobbes would come for him. He felt guilty for wanting this, because he didn’t want to leave Elliott behind, but he couldn’t help it: he believed it to be the only way he could ever see his father again. And then, surely enough, on his 27th birthday, he was contacted by Simeon Hobbes.

Simeon brought him to a facility where he said he would find his father, but just as they arrived there, he was knocked out. When he awoke, a man appeared before him and told him that Simeon Hobbes was dead. He said that Simeon was a terrible man, and because of what he did, he killed him. The man then demanded that he tell him everything he knew about “the island,” because he was certain he knew something about it. Nathan wondered how this could be, and concluded that they must have been monitoring his internet activity, and assumed he knew more about Simeon and his origins than he actually did. He told the man he didn’t know anything, and that he was probably just as clueless as he was, and that he was just looking for information on his father. The man didn’t believe him, however, so he was tortured, and held captive for months. All they got out of him was information on the I. Theta Project, which made him feel guilty for starting whatever Berne had planned.

While he was held captive, he befriended a man named Edmund Montgomery, who told him that while he initially agreed with Berne’s views, he was having second thoughts. Knowing that Berne intended to kill him, Edmund staged Nathan’s escape, making it look like he had been overpowered. So he fled, but kept contact with Edmund, who acted as his “mole” within the 8th Spoke. But after he escaped, he didn’t want to return to his old life, because he feared he would put the ones he loved in danger. So he stayed underground, took on his hacker alias Aidoneus once again, and began monitoring both the 8th Spoke and Elliott from afar. Finally, when Elliott began digging for information on Simeon Hobbes, he felt he had to get involved. So he decided to “guide” him, all the while secretly hoping he would be deterred, and watching the 8th Spoke to make sure they didn’t try to harm him. He felt sorry he had to do this, but he felt it was the only way he could both stop the people who harmed him and protect his family.

He would then have said that he didn’t know what exactly Berne had planned or what his motives were, but before Edmund died he said it was very dangerous, and that many lives were in danger. He would also have pointed to twentyseven.co.cc, which may hold the key to bringing this to an end, because he believed Edmund set it up before he died for a significant purpose. He would also have told Elliott to meet him at the former pizza place they went to as kids in New York so that they could reunite and track down the facility where Berne was working from so that they could bring an end to his plans.

Elliott would then have replied, expressing both frustration with Nathan and relief that he was still alive, and thankfulness that r33pich33p tipped him off. He would then have said that he was more committed than ever to stopping Berne’s plans, and that he was going to reunite with Nathan, and go on to stop Berne.

The following day, on July 27th, r33pich33p would have revealed a “neo-8th Spoke” website, called The Wrath of Our Tears. This would have featured what was basically Berne’s manifesto.

Berne would reveal that on Dec. 19th, 1992 at 4:00 PM, on the island where the DHARMA Initiative conducted their operations, a group known as the Hostiles invaded various DHARMA stations and their barracks, and wiped out every member in a massacre. Before he died, however, a member stationed at the Flame contacted the Hanso Foundation, telling them that the Hostiles were approaching, and requested help. After that, however, communications died and all members were presumed dead. At the time Berne demanded that Hanso send aid, but fearing the dangers and also feeling that DHARMA was archaic and outmoded, there was little interest in doing so, aside from sending routine resupply drops to what was considered the most important station on the island, the Swan. This angered Berne, who began a rallying cry amongst the remaining off-island DHARMA veterans to return to the island and seek revenge against the Hostiles. Many of his colleagues refused, however, but some remained loyal. The 8th Spoke was then changed into a group dedicated to this singular purpose.

However, since the DHARMA Initiative was so secretive, not even Berne knew the location of the island. So he began a decade-long search, and eventually discovered that some familiar Hostiles would occasionally appear on the mainland and carry out their business. One man in particular, Simeon Hobbes, who was an established senior Hostile who seemingly never aged and who took part in the talks that eventually lead to the conditions of the truce, was seen numerous times. The 8th Spoke began to monitor his movements, and recorded his conversations with the recruits he came in contact with. They noticed that he had a particular process, where he would ask a question with a reply in Latin (“What lies in the shadow of the statue?” “Ille qui nos omnes servabit”), and from there would lead people to a man nicknamed the Phoenix, and if they passed his test, they would be “candidates” to serve someone named Jacob. Noticing this, they kidnapped Simeon, and interrogated him for information on how to get back to the island. He told them what they considered “mystical BS,” like how they couldn’t go there because they weren’t “chosen,” or “good people,” or “special.” So they executed him, since he refused to talk, and was considered useless. But they took a list from him, and began contacting numerous people while posing as Simeon, hoping that one of them would lead them to the island. They didn’t have much luck, however.

That was, until they met Nathan, who gave them information about the I. Theta Project. They knew that Charles Widmore was a Hostile, but that he was too powerful to get to. But knowing the details of the I. Theta Project, they knew that the surges he was trying to locate the source of most likely had their origins in the very island Widmore once lived on and that they were trying to locate also. But since the I. Theta Project only served to replicate the conditions of the island by drawing from its power, they felt they couldn’t just monitor it, because in the end it wouldn’t lead them to the island. So they enlisted the help of scientists from the Chenchey Institute, who wanted to hijack the Project for their own ends. Nevertheless, the 8th Spoke helped end Widmore’s involvement in the Project by sabotaging it, and the Chenchey scientists were able to reverse engineer the technology used to replicate the conditions of the island. Their plan was, then, to create a powerful “resonance” that would amplify the energy emitted by the exotic matter that would in turn stabilize a wormhole created by the Casimir Effect. This would allow them to open a “gateway” to the source of the power, the island. There, they would reclaim it from the Hostiles, and kill them just as they killed the members of the DHARMA Initiative. He would then go on to say that their people are mobilized, and prepared to enter the singularity when it is generated.

After players discovered this, Elliott would have Tweeted his reaction, saying that they had arrived at the facility in Grantfork where the 8th Spoke were trying to produce the singularity. However, they needed the input codes to stop the activation of the facility. Elliott would then point players in the direction of twentyseven.co.cc, where Nathan believes Edmund has hidden them. twentyseven.co.cc would have been a three-tiered puzzle with encrypted input codes, the first part revealed sometime this month, the second part revealed on June 27th, and the final part on July 27th. The first two parts would not have made much sense until the July 27th portion was revealed, but that final part would have acted as a “key” of sorts, and when solved, the three sets of codes would have to have been Tweeted to Elliott in order to stop the activation of the facility’s reactor.

This is where the game would have splintered off into two endings: one “good,” one “bad.”. Failure to solve the puzzle before 12AM Pacific would have resulted in a massive malfunction in the reactor, and a front page from a newspaper would have been posted by r33pich33p the following day, stating that a blinding white light was seen in Grantfork, and that a massive chunk of land had simply disappeared, with no one in the proximity of ground zero found. Whether the 8th Spoke, Elliott and Nathan died or were simply whisked off to the island would have been up to your imaginations.

If the puzzle codes were delivered to them on time, however, the ending would have gone down like this:

Elliott would say that they successfully stopped the activation of the reactor, and would say to await a blog the following day. That day, r33pich33p would post a message on Elliott’s blog she received from him, thanking players for helping him reunite with his brother, finally discovering who Simeon Hobbes is, and stopping the 8th Spoke. He would then go on to say that him and Nathan are going away on what would be the first day of the 27th year of his life. Where exactly they went would be up to your imaginations, but the blog post would have ended with a very tropical-looking post card. A nice vacation in Fiji or a trip to the island? I’ll never tell.

Also, r33pich33p would have posted a newspaper clipping on various websites, discussing a white light seen by nearly everyone in Grantfork. It would have said that the facility there was destroyed, and that the remains of armed men were discovered, cut clean in half by some mysterious force — it seems Elliott and Nathan would have stopped the activation of the facility just as the 8th Spoke were about to enter the singularity. However, the article would have gone on to say that Alexander Berne was caught by authorities while trying to flee the scene, and charged with faking his death, engineering a deadly virus with the intention to commit mass murder, amongst other things. It would also mention our good friend Thomas Mittlewerk, who is sadly still at large.

And that’s about it! I hope that wasn’t too absurdly long, but if anyone read it, I hope it at least helps to make up for cutting the game off so soon. Again, I’m really sorry, and I hope all of you awesome folks can forgive me. I’ll definitely come back to reply to any questions or criticism you might still have, so feel free to say or ask anything.

Again, thank you for participating in this, and sorry it had to end like this. You’re all great for sticking with my little game this long, and I just wish it could have gone on longer.

Peace, and namaste,
Your PM”

Yes, peace and namaste Mr. PM. We have truly enjoyed being a part of Simeon Hobbes and the search for Nathan Graves. Hope to ‘see’ you around soon.

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Responses

  1. I just several days ago jumped in and spent about 3+ hours to read this whole blog and NOW THIS IS OVER?! I’m literally crying at the moment ;(

  2. It is all dead.

  3. Mr. PM, not only are you a fraud, but you are a quitter. As you started this ARG deceitfully, under the guise of authenticity, I’m not surprised you’re taking the easy way out, turning tail and merely telling us how “cool” it “would have been”. I’m sure you could have easily found someone to drag these people along a bit longer, closely following your instructions, of course. Not that I’m disappointed, I’m actually a bit satisfied. Now those who were daft enough to follow your farce have gotten what was coming to them since the very beginning: a whole lot of nothing. Hopefully, they can see you for what you are: a charlatan, a nobody, a fool. A smart one, no doubt, your puzzles weren’t simple, but in the end, they were neither real or fully realized. You, my friend, suck.


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