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Chrysopteron AdjutantReflex 2

AdjutantReflex was the first and main character in IRIS, a viral marketing campaign (VMC) and alternate reality game (ARG) jointly administered in the summer of 2007 by Microsoft and Bungie. IRIS's purpose was to generate excitement and attention for the launch of Halo 3.

AdjutantReflex's First Appearances[]

AdjutantReflex cropped

A Screenshot of AdjutantReflex's First Post

HaloRingcopy AdjutantReflex

AdjutantReflex's first avatar

At 10:26 AM PST on June 11, 2007, a mysterious message appeared in the Halo 3 forum on Bungie.net with a subject line entitled, "System Integrity Confirmed." The thread was created by a user named AdjutantReflex, whose system security role was unique to any other user and entitled "CompoundIntelligence" (in contrast to normal Bungie.net user titles such as "Member").

AdjutantReflex's text was gold, a trait indicative of Bungie employees who post in the forum, thus making the user's posts highly noticeable and obviously not the work of a regular user.

As there was no fanfare or other announcement that any kind of ARG would be starting, there was considerable confusion in the first several minutes following AdjutantReflex's first posts. In response to a post wondering if this was the work of a hacker, AdjutantReflex confirmed that it entered Bungie's systems "by force," but stated that it was irrelevant because there was no hostile intent.

AdjutantReflex edited the first reply by another user, showing a system ability to edit other users' posts, an ability normally restricted Bungie employees and Forum Ninjas on Bungie.net.

After exactly 100 excited and confused replies from forum-goers, AdjutantReflex locked and pinned the thread, showing that it had other moderator powers as well. The thread was open for about two hours.

AdjutantReflex then moved to Bungie.org, posting a similar series of mysterious writings in the halo.bungie.org forum.

The next day, on June 12, 2007, at exactly 11:00 AM PST, AdjutantReflex created another thread on Bungie.net entitled "Archive/Resource Estimate," with its first post stating that "Archives/Resources will be compiled in approximately 38 hours [1:00 AM PST on Thursday, June 14]." Another several posts followed (including several ominous posts such as "Tick tock." and "This time, no one will be ready") but no further substantive information was gleaned.

The Forerunner Email[]

The 1:00 AM June 14, 2007 event that AdjutantReflex foreshadowed was a mass emailing of a cryptic poem, sent by XBox Flash. The email contained a link to Halo3.com and the following text:


The "History Circling Back Upon Us" Email

The gears of the Universe spin further
and further apart.
Ever greater grows the gulf between souls,
And distance gives false hope of safety
But for the grim tidings this messenger bears:
The enemy is almost upon us
Closing in from all sides,
Moving faster than the light
it snuffs with its passage,
Time echoes with the news of destruction.
History winding back upon itself.
Waves of an army march this way in unison,
Suffering and corruption are its battle cries.
For I have known this darkness
and felt its embrace once before-
Horror best laid to rest
Yet a Journey must commence
Look for the signs, the keepers of the flame.
They will lead you to war, and perhaps, to victory.

The email also contained a mysterious picture of a "glyph" that appeared to be of Forerunner origin.

The Forerunner Glyphs and Chrysopteros[]

Following the email poem's instructions to "look for the signs," theorists quickly found that the website Halo3.com had been updated ever so subtly; in a screenshot picture on the front page of Halo3.com, a tiny reflection in Master Chief's visor showed a similar glyph that had been digitally reproduced on the Master Chief's visor.


A digitally enhanced screenshot of the glyph appearing on Master Chief's visor

Chrysopteron AdjutantReflex 2

AdjutantReflex's second avatar

At about 2:30 PM PDT on June 14, 2007, AdjutantReflex changed his avatar to a custom avatar, a picture of the same glyph from the email superimposed on a dark cloud. The file name of the avatar was "Chrysopteros.gif."

Further research revealed that "Chrysopteros" was the nickname of the Greek goddess Iris, a messenger god with golden wings.

At 3:43 PM PDT on the same day, AdjutantReflex posted a new thread, asking the following riddle: "Who is the path of light from blackest Earth to brilliant heaven? On whose golden wings will we fly from here to there?"


A screenshot of the updated Halo3.com with five empty silhouettes

Multiple Halo theorists quickly answered "Iris," and AdjutantReflex confirmed that this was the correct answer. Before going back into "hibernation," AdjutantReflex offered the following warning:

"Something that once was malevolent is stirring. [hibernation resumed]"

Immediately thereafter, Community members found that Halo3.com had been updated. The front page now contained 5 empty silhouettes of unidentifiable shapes. Over top of each silhouette were the words:


the first of these servers now appears to be unlocked, on the site where previously there was the countdown. see below. the device appears to match the blacked out image for server one

The Countdown and the Society of the Ancients[]


The advertisement found by CrazyBoy3

On the evening of June 14, 2007, a Bungie.net user named CrazyBoy3 was delivering papers and saw an advertisement for Circuit City containing a picture of Master Chief with the url halo3.com/comic/ at the bottom.

Excited users then visited this url and found a comic-book style story of an early human named N'Chala about 100,000 years ago, watching the Forerunner machines build a massive structure in the area of Kenya commonly known as "the cradle of life." The final page of the comic had a series of numbers that could only be found by manipulating the picture.

These numbers, when placed in order, revealed an IP address: This site revealed a mysterious countdown, counting down in base 7 format to about 1:00 AM PDT on the June 21, 2007. The only known significance of this date is as the date of summer solstice, and that 7/21 is a Seven reference (Bungie's favorite number).

This site was later updated to a flash version of what appears to be one of the five locked servers (mentioned above). It has since been repurposed by Microsoft and no longer bears any relationship to Iris.

The countdown had unintelligible text above it that changed once a day, changing every time the countdown reaches exactly N number of days left. The following are the various messages that the countdown has displayed:

Transmission Interruption - Go Dark /negative/
Possible Intercept - System Bypass Imminent
/adjust bypass according to threat/ Fluctuating
(this message was placed on the transmission log at exactly 4 days left in the countdown -- 9:00 PM PDT on June 16, 2007.)
  • PREVIOUS MESSAGE, JUNE 15-16, 2007
/confirm bounce alignment/
Confirmed - Alignment Request Compiling
Hibernation Resumed
(this message was placed on the transmission log at exactly 5 days left in the countdown -- 9:00 PM PDT on June 15, 2007.)
  • PREVIOUS MESSAGE, JUNE 14-15, 2007
Rotate Transition Point /negative/
Local Interference - Negligible
/confirmed/ Realignment Proceeding
this message was placed on the transmission log at exactly 6 days left in the countdown -- 9:00 PM PDT on June 14, 2007.)
  • PREVIOUS MESSAGE, JUNE 13-14, 2007
Iris Initiated - Vio Transmit + 3 588 000
Searching Re-route...... /confirmed/
System Bypass In Progress. - Realignment Proceeding
(this is the original message on the transmission log when it was discovered by the Bungie Community)

The Countdown


The final page of the Halo3.com comic, manipulated to show the hidden numbers

Bungie.net users quickly found another related site, This site, also reachable through the url societyoftheancients.com, appeared to be the website of an informal club named the Society of the Ancients, dedicated to proving that early humans were aided in their development by a mysterious alien race. The website contained many clues and hints, including the forerunner glyph found as AdjutantReflex's avatar. SOTA had a membership list and email address to join the club, but Bungie fans who attempted to join found that the email address was not in service.


The SOTA website's "evidence" page

On June 14, 2007, still researching the Society of the Ancients ("SOTA"), users found a MySpace.com page with a mysterious blog of a MySpace member (named Avery Fane) outlining vaguely his membership in the secret rites of SOTA. You can view this blog by clicking this link The integrity of this MySpace blog came under question and, by the end of Iris, with Avery Fane no longer participating, it became widely believed that the blog may have been a fake (other Iris-related content that eventually turned out to be fake was created and circulated so often that researchers began discounting anything that did not appear on sites owned by Microsoft or other major companies).

Users also found a page on Facebook.com dedicated to the SOTA group. This page contained a couple of mysterious riddles (such as "What starts with 13 cities ends with the world") and two keys to a cryptogram. The cryptogram had not yet been found. This group is believed to be legitimate, as it contains never-before-seen photographs of presumed Covenant writing and was formed several days before the SOTA site had been publicly found. You can view the Facebook.com group by clicking this link (you must be logged into Facebook.com).


The brochure being handed out by demonstrators in Times Square on June 15, 2007

The Demonstrations[]

On Friday, June 15, 2007, a crowd of demonstrators were seen in Times Square wearing bright yellow shirts bearing the Forerunner glyph and "S.O.T.A." (Society of the Ancients) in red letters. These demonstrators, estimated to be about 10 people, carried signs accusing the government of covering up evidence that aliens have been helping humankind to evolve.

The glyph on the shirt and the handouts of the demonstrators confirmed their involvement in this mystery. The handouts made the same accusations about the government and directed users to the website societyoftheancients.com, already discovered by alert Bungie Community members who had visited halo3.com/comic/.

The demonstration marked the first non-internet incident in the AdjutantReflex events and confirmed that the AdjutantReflex incidents were an Alternate Reality Game.

Following this event, on June 15 and 16, 2007, similar SOTA demonstrations were seen in other cities around the world.

Confirmed SOTA sightings include London, UK; Chicago, IL; Vancouver, BC and San Francisco, CA. Unconfirmed sightings include Boston, MA, Tokyo, Japan, and Mobile, AL.

553308096 3eed813795

SOTA Demonstrators in London

AdjutantReflex Under Attack[]

At midday on June 17, 2007, AdjutantReflex started a thread in the Bungie.net Halo 3 forum entitled "Stop it." In the thread, it stated that its integrity was being attacked and that it could only maintain it for about 22 hours. It also posted the cryptic message "By the pricking of my thumbs," a quote from William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, which precedes the line "Something wicked this way comes" in the play.

The next day, about 22 hours later, AdjutantReflex posted again, stating that it could "not prevail" against the attacks and that an "older life" was here with us that had both higher rank and more strength than AR. AdjutantReflex then stated, "I will seek one of you out and leave my legacy in a small space."

Shortly thereafter, the countdown timer and Transmission Log located at sped up dramatically, though the end date of the countdown was difficult to determine at first, as it seemed to change depending on whether the counter had been refreshed or not.

The Death of AdjutantReflex[]

At about 9:00 AM PDT on June 19, 2007, Bungie.net member x Foman123 x received a distressed private message from AdjutantReflex. AR claimed that it had already been defeated and that "peril" was near, and asked Foman to warn the Community. Over three increasingly despairing private messages, AR revealed that a new "machine" that was much more powerful, intelligent, and higher "ranking" was about to take over.

AdjutantReflex 3rd

The entity's avatar

At 1:16 PM PDT, Foman123 received a private message from AdjutantReflex stating that the previous entity had been "terminated" and that the account had been hijacked by a newer, malevolent entity. A similar post entitled "Last Word" was publicly created in the Halo 3 forum about a half hour later. The new entity, using the same account as the previous AdjutantReflex but sporting a new cryptic avatar, stated that we should be concerned about its "intent" rather than its "identity," and indicated that it would no longer communicate through Bungie.net. It vaguely referred to something that would take place on June 20, 2007, but refused to elaborate.

As part of his termination of AdjutantReflex, the new entity deleted all Bungie.net threads created by AdjutantReflex except for the very first thread titled "System Integrity Confirmed" and the thread that it itself had created. Nothing further was heard from AdjutantReflex.


The First Server Unlocked[]

At 8:00 PM PDT on the evening of June 20, 2007, Bungie.net users noticed that the site that used to contain the Transmission Log,, had changed dramatically, now containing an a "key" for the first 100 users to visit the site and an audio file stating that users should take the key and use it to learn from the past in order to save the present. Those 100 users, upon entering the key, were told that they had helped to unlock the server and that they would be rewarded in time.

After 100 keys had been entered, the site changed again. Now, it revealed a mysterious forerunner artifact. Clicking certain places on the artifact allowed visitors to download various text files and photographs containing cryptic and detailed information.

AdjutantReflex Returns[]

At noon PDT on June 28, 2007, ArbiterPhoenix, a sharp-eyed CompoundIntelligence member, noticed a strange new "clicking" sound coming from the Server 05 website. Further analysis revealed little except some minor insignificant changes to the files on Server 05 and the audio. The clicking, however, foreshadowed a much more important event.

At 10:17 PM PDT on June 28, 2007, AdjutantReflex ended a long week of silence in the forums and lack of activity elsewhere in the puzzle by posting in the Halo 3 forum once again. This time, he (presumably the "New" AdjutantReflex) posted a mysterious poetic paragraph:

A pulse.

Can you feel it?
Beating at the heart of the Universe.
Skin too thick to be sure.
It's alive though.
I'm certain.
What do I do with life?

The thread was only open for 3 minutes, and AR did not respond to any of the several posts that were made in that time.


The image that appeared on the FCC advertisements

Flood Containment Control[]

On July 5, 2007, a series of advertisements began appearing on dozens (perhaps hundreds) of internet classifieds forums for a business called "Flood Containment Control" ("FCC"). FCC appeared to be a business that helps to clean up floodwater damage. The advertisement would not have attracted any attention except for the picture that accompanied the advertisement -- a photograph of a water-damaged concrete wall with a Forerunner glyph clearly etched into it and covered in mold. Calling the number listed in the advertisement (1-888-778-5672) led to a series of mysterious voicemail messages that changed daily.

The first message was an answering machine stating "Thank you for calling Flood Containment Control..." and a message about being closed for the holiday, as well as a message about having an unusually high volume of calls.

The message was changed sometime after 8:16 PST to a broken conversation between two men from a “conferencing center” logged as “participant 1-2”. The conversation mentions a “doc download” and something called “site 34” then suddenly cuts off and hangs up after 53 seconds.

The message changed again on the evening of July 7, to another broken conversation, logged as participant 1-2 again, between the same two men talking about “the center”, the “unusual seasons lately”, and “hiding the data behind a false menu item”; then ends with “Bye, Bill (debated)” after another 53 seconds.

The message changed again sometime on the evening of July 9 to a third message logged as participant 3, with very long pauses, a new male voice (assumed to be "Bill" from message two), and an automated female voice. Alone, it revealed little, but when the third message was overlaid onto the first message, they lined up perfectly into a completed 53-second conversation. A user at unfiction.com did this audio work and posted the following script:

Messages 1 & 3 combined script

Female British Voice: "Welcome to the {Strema?} Conferencing Center. Please enter your pin followed by the [cut off, presumably "pound key”]
{4 Touch Tones of 201#)
Password accepted. Now accessing archive number 16180. Participant One-two [in third call "three"]."
Man 1: "Isn't necessary, and neither is the doc download."
Man 2: "I agree. This isn't going to be a public resource. Uhh, pass on the document number so I can delete it."
Bill: “So where does that put us in terms of the numbers then?”
Man 1: "There's no way to tell yet. Jim's looking into the records to see how many closed sites there are, but as for active clean-up, somewhere around 3-4,000.”
Female 1: “Roughly”
Man 1: “Here it is, uh, hold on, 402-K-07-002, and in terms of numbers, most of these are past the PPE Stage."
Female 1: “And out of that 4000 or so we are expecting to close shop on the bulk by the end of the month.”
Man 2: "With a few exceptions: Sites 34..."

  • Note: Googling "402 k 07 002" led to the following page.

The fourth message was found around 4:30 PM on July 7th. It mentions entering the access code 5467K after their website and correctly splices into message two to complete the conversation.

Second half of the conference call:

Male Voice 1: ["Site" or "'Kay"] Four, one-oh-seven, and thirty-seven.
Male voice 3: Even with CDC involvement?
Male Voice 1: The center normally goes in before we do, that's been my experience. (second male voice kind of cuts in)
Male Voice 2: By the time we have the site clean, they've moved onto more pressing needs. Ah, after all, we've had some extremely unpredictable seasons lately.
Female voice: Should we be integrating the NIOSH 80.
Male Voice 1: No need, their rep is available to us any time we need her.
Male voice: That gets us ?stag/stabbed? in all active locations.
Male Voice 2: ...on everything we still need to look into.
Male voice: what about security?
Male Voice 1: Well we're working on it. For the moment, we're simply hiding the data behind a false menu item.
Male Voice 2: Security will be updated before the next system approaches.
Male voice: and access?
Female voice: enter the access code after our site
Male voice: Ip slash 3463 or something
Female voice: yeah, slash 5467K, actually. it should be operational anytime.
Male voice: great I'll pass it on. I have to drop, thanks everyone
Female voice: thanks, bye
Male Voice 1: Ok {Male Voice 2 interjects here see below} great
Male Voice 2: Thanks
Male Voice 1: Bye, Bill

5467k led to a site that appears to be virtual Earth only with the grass form the Starry Night commercial in the background. Entering a state caused red dots to appear that listed the locations of multiple game stores across the state. With this as their descriptions:


At those locations, alert CompoundIntelligence members found an Xbox 360 Kiosk with a hidden video under Halo 3 with no icon or description. The video was selectable and had a description with AR’s avatar in the picture along side Master Chief. When played, the video contained the message:

There is no malicious intent. Only the single minded goal of survival. -Blaise Vigenère (1523-1596)

Vigenère led CI members to the Vigenère Cipher. Using that cipher, the earlier message from halo3.com/5467k was translated to: note that this is a not direct translation- spaces and punctuation were added from original translated text for eased reading.

Report two zero six.
Every sixteen hours another planet is taken.
The numbers being lost are astronomical.
Report two two three.
Host world raised.
Correct concentration to point sixty five.
Fleet losing control falling back.
Rendezvous at Nine Bravo Kilo Two Romeo Six.

The numbers and letters at the end of the message were combined at 9:00 PM July 10th on the ABO forums to form an IP address of that led to the key-entry page of Server 2, similar to that of Server 1.


The Star Chart from Server 02

Server 02 Opens[]

The 100 keys were gone in minutes and Server 02 was unlocked by 9:10 PM. The server was the same object as the first unlocked server, only with the links located in different locations and the center light sporting a faint orange color. It gave a new video message saying that the Flood is no simple parasite, but rather one that has a mind. The server also contained starchart2. The server gave another audio clip entitled “719hz” that creates an interesting frequency picture in spectral analysis. The last file is a picture entitled “Infestation” that appears to be a thermal image of two stellar masses.

"The Device" - Server 03 Opens[]


The Device

The downloads section of Halo3.com was updated to offer 3 ringtones, and a few other nifty little digital swag items. 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.

After users clicked on the Device, it waited for one of the ringtones to be played into the computer's microphone input. Once the ringtone was played sufficiently, The Device '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 short narrative, a third mysterious star map, and a video with a transcript describing the past event.

When We Two Parted[]

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.

The text of the altered poem was as follows:

<<overwrite granted>>
<<content updated>>

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-heart ed,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy ki ss;
Truly th at hour foretold
Sorro w to this!

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow;
It felt like the w arning
Of what I feel now.
Th y vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'e r me -
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deepl y to tell.

In secret we met:
In silence I grie ve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee? -
With silence and tears.

Or better I'll look
And find you away,
Mistaken in jungle?
My heart labors stayed?
Long weeks though were hidden.
In Amazon's folds;
The formula's secrets,
Love's story now told.

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 (, 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.

Chatting with Jonas Volman and Opening Server 04[]


Photo of the Boomerang Nebula from Server 04

Thomas Sanatos posted in reply to various comments, until August 9, 2007, when he gleefully declared that Professor Volman had returned! In his final comment, he included a name which appeared to be an Instant Messaging address - profvol49. Assuming he's an MSN user, many participants added profvol49@hotmail.com to their contact list and had "chats" with Professor Volman (the user is actually a chatbot). 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 fourth mysterious star map, and a video with a transcript describing the past event. The image of the celestial body was entitled "unknown.jpg."


Star Map from Server 04

The Artifact Location[]

The fourth star map blatantly spelled out "The Artifact Location," which turned out to be the name of a website theartifactlocation.com, the text that each star image, when overlaid, seemed to be spelling. Around the same time, it was discovered that "unknown.jpg" was a photograph of the Boomerang Nebula.

Theartifactlocation.com website displayed a randomized map of stars and a password prompt. When determined that 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 seemingly random characters. A few days later, the "081607" appeared beside each city name, still followed by random characters.

Server 05 Unlocked[]


"Terminal" Image from Server 05

In the morning of August 16, 2007, times appeared next to the dates on The Artifact Location - 23:59 by New York, and 21:00 for Seattle and Los Angeles. Players assumed that it meant that something was going to happen at midnight EDT that same day. Just after 12:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 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 fifth 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 fifth server. The files made available this time were a narrative, 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.

End of IRIS Confirmed[]

After Server 05 was unlocked, many players refused to believe that IRIS was over. Unlike the I Love Bees campaign, there was no "grand finale" or confirmation that IRIS had ended once Server 05 was unlocked. Moreover, players who had unlocked Servers 03-05 had not received any of the "swag" that players who had unlocked the first two servers had received. There was no official word or confirmation from Bungie or Microsoft that the IRIS ARG had ended.

Finally, 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 on halo.msn.com, confirming the completion (effectively) of Iris mid-August. This article stated:

"The viral campaign concluded in mid-August but the plot thread will extend into Halo 3."

Finally, a user named Thomas Sanatos joined and posted in CompoundIntelligence, stating that he was from AKQA (the company that administered IRIS) and officially thanking the CompoundIntelligence community for participating in the game (link to post - must be a CompoundIntelligence member to view).

Links and Places for Discussion[]

AdjutantReflex's Posts

x FoMan123 x's Posts

Places for Discussion

See also[]