Phoenix was an alternate reality game
created to promote Silent Threat: Reborn. It was "announced" by the ST:R trailer, in which the number 162 (corresponding to the forum id) was briefly displayed in the same manner as the www.ilovebees.com
link in the Halo 2 trailer. A total of 56 people discovered the Phoenix forum and were treated to a series of puzzles and forum posts that revealed background information about ST:R.
Phoenix's story concerns, Aadarsh, an employee of GTI, who becomes concerned about GTI's corruption and behind-the-scenes maneuvering and sends a series of transmissions in an effort to make his discoveries public. Through an unexplained temporal phenomenon, these transmissions from a GTI facility in the year 2335 are interpreted as new threads on a hidden HLP forum in the year 2008. This same phenomenon eventually allows HLP forum members to view the GTA "holonet" and gain access to additional tools they can use to discover the GTI's secrets.
Here are the threads in chronological order:
- Can anyone hear me? - Aadarsh sends his first tentative transmission
- Not as it appears... - The first puzzle, which involves the Einstein's activities in Ross 128
- Gotcha! - Colonol Dekker and faxi summarize the events of Phoenix and the community's discoveries so far
- Interesting times... - Aadarsh expresses surprise that he can't figure out who's receiving his transmissions
- Some more highlights... - Aadarsh posts a Classified Level Omega image, which contains another puzzle
- Calling Isaac Stone... - MikeRoz attempts to blow Aadarsh's cover, but is foiled by the fact that he is unable to send information forward in time
- On the destruction of a multitude - Aadarsh reacts to the devastation of Vasuda Prime and its associated events
- Always one step behind - Aadarsh posts another puzzle, in the form of a Vasudan letter that was intercepted by GTI
- Analysis and speculation - Aadarsh comments on the fact that the Lucifer appears to be heading for Earth
- Weird date... relevant? - Various members attempt to figure out the significance of the bizarre timestamps on Aadarsh's messages
- Running out of time - Aadarsh comments on the collapse of the Sol node and posts another puzzle, which requires integrating information from several previous puzzles AND doing some real-world detective work
- Aadash [sic] is late - terran_emperor wonders why the next transmission has been delayed
- Problems - Aadarsh discreetly sends another transmission, revealing that the GTI is catching on to his activities
- Rescheduling - Because the HLP members haven't cracked the Vasudan puzzle yet, the Phoenix game masters are forced to invent another puzzle for Aadarsh to send
- #162 IRC channel - FreeSpaceFreak comments on the #162 channel (which had actually already been active for several weeks at that point)
- Timoke. No, delete last Fokker Triplane. No - The original finale thread, which got its unusual title from Aadarsh taking a few seconds to calm down and enunciate. I had to punt on the grand prize due to push to finish ST:R, so I substituted an early release of ST:R as an interim grand prize.
- I just got here. - Topgun just got here
- Database inconistency detected - Announcements attempts to remedy a gap in the story
- Timoke. No, delete last Fokker Triplane. No - After a number of years, the temporal anomaly syncs up again and the grand prize is finally released.
The Phoenix story was written by Goober5000, who also played the Aadarsh character and invented the Vasudan language. The Galactic Holonet was designed and coded by chief1983. Ransom Arceihn produced the end-of-game flash animation and wrote the Ross 128 briefings; and Galemp rendered the personal log video and created the Vasudan font. Ace and Setekh rendered the two puzzle images.