most recent update: 11-22-03


Hello and welcome!


If you’re reading this message, you are probably a new poster to the Unfiction: Metacortechs forum. Perhaps you’ve been lurking for a while before posting, or perhaps you’re diving right in. Either way, you probably know a few things already – this is a site dedicated to the Matrix-related ARG which launched on October 1, 2003, and has been expanding exponentially since. The admins here at Unfiction, in their infinite wisdom, quickly set up this site, and soon afterwards, a series of highly creative and talented people began congregating here to discuss the various bits of relevant minutiae as they are discovered.


There are many forums currently discussing this ARG, but Unfiction is by far the largest and most comprehensive. The downside of this is the sheer size of the forum itself, and the amount of information involved, a problem which has lead you, inexorably…here.


A few notes about etiquette and protocol before moving on: some of the threads on the forum are nearing 50 pages with over 600 separate posts, so it’s perfectly understandable that you might have difficulty at first in simply finding pertinent information. So, familiarize yourself with the search tool. Usually, it’s best to isolate a specific question you might have, do a search on the keywords, and look up the earliest references first. As information gets abstracted and analyzed and picked apart to within an inch of its life, we can sometimes go off on tangents that might be confusing if you haven’t been sitting up all hours of the night slogging through recent posts day after day after day. If a search doesn’t answer your questions, feel free to PM me, joebrent, or any of the more experienced members you encounter with specific questions, and I’m sure you’ll find that people are happy to point you in the right direction. Posting with a “what’s going on over here?” or “what does this code mean?” type question, especially as a new topic, should be a last resort.


For those of you with hacking skills, it goes without saying that brute forcing, reverse engineering, decompilation, and similar methods are considered a big time no-no. First of all, where’s the fun in that anyway, and secondly, it tends to gunk up the process for those of us who choose to play by the rules.


The members of this site represent many different areas of expertise, all of which have been invaluable in solving the puzzles hurled our way the mysterious puppet masters. Some people are good at hacking and using steg software, some are more familiar with the literary and philosophical references, some people are equipped to decipher the musical clues, some people are just completely insane and are thus able to see things in the clues that more rational minds cannot. Figure out what you bring to the equation (everyone has something to offer) and put a little elbow grease into it. You never know, you may have the particular skill set needed to crack a puzzle.


UPDATE: On Nov. 22nd, the ‘Project MU’ ARG was officially solved. Go here for the credits page, and here to read the final plot summary.


Still with me? Good. Now on to the fun stuff.



At first, it was assumed that this was all affiliated with the Wachowski Brothers (heretofore known as the WB), Burlyman, Village Roadshow, or Warner Brothers because of the launch date (about a month before the release of Revolutions), the blatant references to ‘Thomas Anderson’ and Metacortex, the resources involved in putting together an ARG of this size and scope, and its many allusions to various literary and philosophical sources common to the Matrix movies. Many people, however, are convinced that this is a fan ARG, with no WB association whatsoever. It doesn’t really matter in the end; all that matters is that you have fun playing, and perhaps get your noodle baked a few times in the process.



The main protagonist, so far, also known by her login names Beth and emc2. She’s a programmer at Metacortex, but in her free time, she is an obsessive documenter of what she believes to be paranormal phenomena, but are actually glitches in the Matrix she is unaware of. She doesn’t have a husband/boyfriend, or even much of a life as far as anyone can tell, her every idle hour currently being used compiling data for her Paranormal Research Archive, part of her own web page Little-Boxes. She does talk to her mother every so often, but her only real friend is a guy named Philip Gairden, who puts out a periodical called the Paranormal Research Journal. She also has a dog named Laika, and digs Evanescence, Indigo Girls, and Dina Nekoda.


October 31st – yes, that’s right, Halloween – was a big day for Beth. While following a hunch that she was able to predict the next ‘paranormal’ event, she had set out, camp gear at the ready, for the Pacific Northwest. There she experienced a bizarre series of events involving a mysterious man and her sudden ability to pass through her tent like that girl in X-Men. While this was going on, her PDA suddenly registered a long block of code that seemed to describe the exact incident which had just taken place. Spooky…


Here’s Yanka’s Oct. 31 easy-read Cliff’s Notes:


                           What happened on Halloween:

  • Many people received phone calls; discussed here
  • Ethan mentions a "technical glitch" to Dina here; discussed here
  • Metacortex sent out a follow-up e-mail; discussed here
  • Beth experiences an event; discussed here


Update: as of November 6, the mysterious man from the tent incident has begun showing up at Beth’s house, with similar results as picked up by her PDA.


Another update: On November 13th, Beth had another contact with the mystery man (now confirmed to be a form of A.I.). She recorded the entire interaction, and immediately sent the transcript to Phil, who posted it in his Metadex. Oh, and by the way – we now know that she’s aware of the hacker Texel, whose real name is also now known to be Miss Kinross, the same Kinross referred to in Beth’s correspondence with the mystery man.


And in another expert crypto solve, colin and Monki cracked a code the mystery man developed to communicate with Beth. Thinking like a computer, he used the colors black, varying shades of grey, and white for “False” through “True”. Astounded and amazed, we on Unforum showered them with cookies, candies, and other high-calorie largesse.


After a few days of back and forth communications which more and more closely approximated speech, Beth and Mystery Man (heretofore known as AI man) finally had a breakthrough on November 15th – and didn’t even need relationship counseling. Just for fun, when you open this link, pay special attention to the time that each message was posted; they’re right on top of one another. Translocating - yes, that’s right, translocating - about the globe like a couple of characters in an H.G. Wells novel, Beth made good on her promise to IM anyone who had questions about her recent adventures, and like wolves after a mutton, over 40 of us chatted with her simultaneously (metaphor mania, there…sorry). Here’s BriEnigma’s transcriptions of everyone’s chats, and here’s his archive of the rest of Beth’s IMs. She didn’t really go into too much detail about things; for example, when people asked her questions like, “do you know what happened to Thomas Anderson?” she would never reply. But she did divulge her exact GPS coordinates every time she and AI man globe-hopped, and she also confirmed many things which we had recently been speculating, like the true identity of s/heismissing. As yeahyeah commented, it was one heck of a first date.


Perhaps emboldened and embiggened by her experiences with AI Man, Beth is now gunning for MLO. On Nov. 16th, she sent this message to his Metadex, demanding to know why he has those mysterious Avery documents in his files. Looks like things might be coming to a head here. It’s clear that MLO knows what happened to Avery, and may have had a hand in his disappearance (quote from Beth’s message: I’ve seen the websites and I saw bits of stuff in that file. I’m not stupid. I know that he didn’t just retire from the company that meant so much to him. That wasn’t like him.)


On Nov. 18th, Beth updated her log with more information about AI Man. Seems his purpose originally was that of Garbage Collector, responsible for “memory recycling”. A malfunction occurred two years ago, causing him months of existential wandering, trying to regain his purpose, which eventually led him to Beth. She also posted some more information on what he looks like, what he likes to be called, etc, and followed that up with this letter to Phil the next day.


On Nov. 19th, AI Man posted this in the to-night files on PaintOver. It confirms he has no ill will towards the hackers, Beth, or the “Nekodas” (you’ll find out more about them by reading below). But it does carry with it a tough ultimatum: for as long as they live, they will be pursued by agents and monitors of the system they still are at least functionally unaware of. So he proposes to create a subsystem within their world in which they can exist without detection from the agents. The trade off, of course, is that they will no longer be able to interact with their own world as they previously have. Apparently, freedom from the system, a la Thomas Anderson, hasn’t even occurred to the AI Man.


Here is Beth’s final Little-Boxes entry.



Beth’s friend who edits PRJ. He is a follower of Wongmo, although he doesn’t much care for Leo Kane. He also frequently posts to Little-Boxes. He recently broke into Leo Kane’s office and snapped pictures of shady-looking torn-up documents in his trash can, which bore the name “Arnold Quentin Niehoffer.”


On November 13th, these messages turned up in Phil’s Metadex. Apparently, Beth has had another contact with the mystery man from Oct. 31st, and he has by now figured out a way to communicate with her without using XML.



One of Beth’s co-workers at Metacortex, also known by her login name Katgirl. We’re not sure about Kat yet, she seems to be playing both sides. On one hand, we know she was doing some snooping into Beth’s affairs on behalf of Marcus Ormond, but on the other hand, seems to have ingratiated herself with Beth to the extent that she house-sat Laika while Beth was on vacation. She also really likes the phrase “A-OK”. Note: After an incident with the Aquapolis security system, Katherine has been ‘transferred’ (according to her Metacortex page) as of November 20th. We don’t at this moment know if she’s alive or dead, but wherever she is, she’ll still have Brad Pitt. What we do know, however, is that no matter what happened to her, she was able to get some information to a certain ‘Agent Jones’. Uh-oh. Looks like Beth might be in deep doo-doo.



Retired as CEO of Metacortechs on Jan 5 of this year, and promptly disappeared. Beth confirmed during her Nov.15th chat-a-thon that he is the guy on this page, and his ex-wife Lynne is the one pictured over here. His Metacortechs directory listing has been replaced with binary code which translated to:


Na e: Aver , J  es

D pt   x c  iv



and his picture is mysteriously scrambled.


And thanks to Max Risc’s first post (an example to us all) we found out that Jesse is Avery’s son. This was figured out by analyzing the bar code on Jesse’s ID, and confirmed thanks to Ethan Nekoda’s Nov. 19th post.



The new CEO of Metacortechs. At first, Beth had a high opinion of him, but now she’s not so sure.



Also known as MLO, he is the Director of R&D at Metacortex, and Beth’s direct superior. Seems to be a sort of shady character, his Metadex calendar has a lot of cryptic entries that have led many to believe he’s up to no good. He is hardly ever what he seems; his voice mail message makes him sound like a bumbling Luddite, but as Director of R&D for a major software corporation, he certainly must be more tech-savvy than he lets on. He is also prominently involved with Metacortechs’s super-secret Labyrinth project, the Aquapolis, and the MetaVRX virtual reality gaming system (which some believe is a cover for AI research).


Update: On Nov. 2nd, a puzzle and a series of photos of James Avery were discovered in MLO’s Metadex. In yet another example of the intelligence of people other than me, the puzzle cipher was cracked soon after by yeahyeah, xnbomb, and chancesend. This one really blew me away, I was reminded of the PGA golf slogan: “These Guys Are Good.”


Update: Well, November 13th appears to be a big day for everyone – this message from Katherine regarding security issues showed up in MLO’s Metadex. It’s still pretty new as I post this, so just read the thread to follow the sure to be endless speculation…



So…there’s this guy Wongmo. He’s a Hawaiian new age guru with a Troy McClure-esque dolphin fetish and a predilection for referring to himself in the third person. He organizes retreats where he tries to get his followers to ‘release their inner dolphin’, holds bizarre talent searches, and writes cheesy mood music. Nobody really knows what his relevance to the ARG is yet, but he does make for some comic relief on the forums. Wongmo loves you!


One thing which is currently being speculated on is that Wongmo, Leiphe, Dr. Kane, and AQN are one, er, four and the same person. If another faith-healing weirdo named “Sybil” appears, it wouldn’t surprise this poster.



A site that asks one and all to ‘release their inner wisdom’. Hey, dolphin, wisdom, tomato, tomahto. More new age stuff, but with a twist: it is maintained by Fiona Leiphe, who instructs her followers to seek out the answers of life through blogging. Whatever works, I guess. Is she Wongmo? Or is Wongmo her? Or is she Dr. Kane in drag? Maybe she’s just…ah, fudge.



Dina and Ethan. Dina is a singer/blogger, and Ethan has a blog as well. They are based in Chicago. Dina is into naval-gazing and Leiphe lessons, and has posted a song on as well. Beth is a fan.


Update – Ethan left us some clues pointing to a real world treasure hunt on his blog, which were found a few days later. They consisted of a CD with some intriguing pictures on them, some of which appeared to depict a person being taken over by an agent. Read all about it here (Chicago) and here (Indy).  There are now several others, but they contain much the same information, including the possibility of hidden files we haven’t been able to open yet.


Heismissing = James Avery
Sheismissing=James’s ex-wife Lynne

Sheismissing has no credit history...

Jesse Avery is their son
Avery and his ex had been on decent terms only for the sake of their son
Something suspicious happened to Avery in
Zurich, where he was with Dimitri and Beth (!)
Beth was close to James (possibly an affair?)

Caesar hosted both s/heismissing
Scratch calls Caesar "orphan punk"
Caesar gets upset about Scratch's use of the sky picture

(this may be debatable...?)
Scratch claims to have discovered Caesar's mysterious history,

which involves his family history

Dina and Ethan Nekoda are the former Sylvia and Ryan Emerson

Jesse is at least in his teens, about 16
Dina is a big fan of Wongmo
Ryan worked for Murpha, where another Emerson is CEO
Ryan had an encounter with an Agent and got pictures of it
Ryan arranged for his files to be put on CDs and distributed around the country

Also, on Nov. 6, Dina posted a series of classical music mp3s, which became a clue leading us to this page. Dina clearly has better taste in music than Beth, Saint-Saëns trumps the Indigo Girls any day.


Big news as of Nov. 10. This communiqué was posted on the Nekodas blog site, the first instance we have of real-life influence on ARG characters. The gist is that Dina went to the Cyberia Café in Chicago to pick up the CD which Ethan had left for her. But of course, Trip had already been there…Based on the language of the message, we are now 100% sure that Ethan is Ryan Emerson, and Dina is Sylvia. For a clear picture of where we’re at as of 11-13, on the left is an excellent table of information prepared with loving care, like a fresh batch of cookies, by Omnie:


Here’s the Nov. 13th update on the Nekoda blog. Ethan’s starting to lose it…Speaking of losing it, there now exists the distinct possibility that Ethan and Dina have had their memories “rebooted”, and were Ryan and Sylvia, and possibly even James and Lynne Avery in previous incarnations. Ethan mentions being approached by a man named Todd Rogan, who sure recognized him, even if Ethan couldn’t reciprocate.


Good and bad news for the Nekodas, as of Ethan’s Nov. 18th blog post. Good news: he met with Scratch, and confirmed, “He knows Jesse, told us where he is.” Bad news: ‘They’ appeared (agents?), and although Ethan made it out, Dina is now in their custody. And even more telling is this part of his post: “The wall. It wasn’t there before.” He mentions nothing of a black cat, but we all know where that wall came from, don’t we?


Worse news: Ethan escaped from the monitor/agents, but Dina definitely did not. He met with Caesar/Jesse on Nov. 19th, and confirmed Jesse’s worst fears: that his parents, the Averys, are no more for this world, in one way or another. But at least we know this much, or we think we do; Ethan and Dina were Ryan and Sylvie Emerson. We had thought for a time that they were also James and Lynne Avery, but we now know this not to be true.



A “licensed professional psychiatrist specializing in research in mind-body psychiatry and the interplay of science, nature, technology and medicine,” according to his website. So, in other words, a witch doctor. He’s a big Wongmo fan, and is currently on sabbatical doing research of the Wonginator’s methods. Phil snapped these pics in his office, which led us to endless speculation about the true identity of AQN.



Click on the above link for Yanka’s excellent overview of the hacker files. Nobody knows who they are, but we know them by their aliases and signature extensions. They run, and often post clues there for us (some of which have still not been solved). They have also hacked Little-Boxes and The Aquapolis. Many things are still up for interpretation, but I’m pretty much with Yanka all the way on this stuff. The entire hacker files, along with just about everything else, can be easily accessed via BriEnigma’s site.


And now, just so you have it in front of you, here’s another table chock full ‘o stuff about the hackers:





personal notes


Jesse Avery


The main hacker, he maintains PaintOver as an easy place for everyone to assemble and post information meant for each other (and clues unintentionally meant for us). Ostensibly organized the motley troupe of hackers for the purposes of whomphunting, it is apparent now that Caesar’s true motivations were to look for his parents, the former James and Lynne Avery. He’s had an ongoing feud with Scratch, which came to a head when Scratch called him an “orphan punk”, figured out what Caesar had really been looking for this whole time, and hackers started backing out like roaches with the lights on. He is responsible for sending the tapestry cipher to Dimitri (found in MLO’s Metadex on Nov. 6). He also is prone to seizures and is something of a cinema buff.


On Nov. 18th, Caesar and his crew set up camp down the road from where Beth was camping and posting about her “Friend”. They approached her, and this was when was told that his parents had been killed. Soon after, he posted the incredibly moving brutus5.jpg, in which he apologizes to…well, everyone, for bringing them into situations they didn’t understand, putting them in danger they couldn’t have foreseen. He furthermore bared his soul on PaintOver the next day. And his worst fears were confirmed in his meeting with Ethan on Nov. 19th – James and Lynne Avery are no more for this world.


Here is the final PaintOver post.


(Miss) Kinross


Good friends with Caesar, although she backed out when Scratch told everyone about Caesar’s real motivations. She was saved by Beth’s AI Man during a rampaging whomp gone awry. When Scratch issued his “Help Me” post, she seemed genuinely concerned, and in the past has tried to quell the drama between Caesar and Scratch, even going so far as to google-ise Scratch’s name but adding the line “Scratch is noble, and well given” (a paraphrase of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar).







Caesar is very tight right now with Random (quote: “Random’s golden.”) because he stuck with Caesar when many of the hackers were backing off the project. He uses a lot of poetry generators in his posts, as in here, here, here, here, here, and…well, you get the point. He’s kind of the fun one, no one really knows what the heck he’s talking about most of the time, but he is loyal to Caesar, and fun to read.




The rogue of the group. A little salty at times, his feud with Caesar has been the cause of a great deal of consternation within the group, but it should be said he did his part very well. He accused Caesar of having something to do with the spikes in the logs, and tried to organize a mutiny. At first, nobody believed him, but eventually people started leaving the project, perhaps leaving Caesar and Random on their own. And now it seems that Scratch was a bit too successful, because he believes agents are now not only after him, but after Caesar and perhaps everyone else as well.
















Mostly interested in keeping the peace, left the group briefly as part of Scratch’s mutiny, challenging Caesar to provide more information. Was very concerned after Scratch’s “Help Me” message.








Speaks mostly through cryptic images, such as these Tarot cards and this image of people in a hallway.










On November 20th, Caesar (with Random by his side) opened (log: cinna, pass: gears), which opened the invite for the hackers to live in AI Man’s “loophole”. One by one, Texel, Omnie and Bounce, fire, double and Malloc responded in the affirmative, with only leak turning down the chance. At the present time, we’ve not heard from Scratch, nothing is known what happened to him after the incident with Ethan and the agents. 



President and CEO of Murpha, the architecture firm that brought you the Metacortex buildings in Chicago and NYC, and the Aquapolis. Several packages were left all over the country addressed to him by Ethan Nekoda, here’s the first one we found, in Chicago. Probably related to Ryan Emerson, maybe his father. We have now proven that Ryan and Ethan are one and the same person, perhaps due to a memory erasure. Why is Ethan sending himself pictures of Ryan’s driver’s license and  SS#, along with his marriage certificate? Is this Ryan’s house? Is it because “Emerson” knew he was due for a Memento-esque memory cleansing, and wanted to leave clues for himself in case his new persona got inquisitive about his previous identity?



As of Nov. 16th, we’re not entirely positive about this guy, also known as AQN. The consensus speculation is that Wongmo, Leiphe, and possibly even Leo Kane as well are his nom de guerres. Which particular guerre he’s fighting is unknown at this time, as is his reasoning for hiding behind such limpid circus geeks as Wongmo and Kane – or perhaps, is he just hiding in lame sight? Devious little bugger, I tells ya…These passports and receipt (for a plane ticket to Honolulu) were photographed in Leo Kane’s office by Phil. For the party line on AQN, this link will take you to Yanka’s post, which sums it all up nicely. This thread also gives some relevant info, including an angry letter from AQN to Phil.



In the movie, this is where ‘Thomas Anderson’ worked before that nasty business with the naval squiddy. If you look up their directory, there is still a listing for andersonthomas. Anyway, Beth, MLO, Katgirl, and Walsh all work there, along with the Head of Network Security Stone Jeffreys. They created Metadex, a sort of online messaging and filing system. Some of their other products include MetaOffice Suite and the MetaGamex Console. They are supposed to be a reference to Microsoft, the archetype of the huge evil corporation, and are even located in the fictitious Seattle-area city of Redland, WA (Microsoft is located in Redmond). (Note: Beast, the original ARG, was created by Microsoft to promote the Steven Spielberg movie A.I., and there has been some speculation that this ARG is the product of the same creative team. So lesson one is that Microsoft isn’t all bad, and lesson two is that I should probably refrain from referring to them as the archetypical evil corporation, lest they bombard my hard drive with some of those infamous XP hotfixes.)



Web hosting company that is the only common link we have to all facets of the ARG. Every site considered ‘in-game’ is hosted by USH, and when in doubt, you can easily check for in-game status by looking for the USH logo near the bottom of the page. Note: you will not find a logo on the Metacortechs page, but you will on Metadex.



Mysterious cabin just south of Rainier National Park in Washington State, built by Hank Morrissey in the late 1800’s. Apparently modeled after the Oregon Vortex, it’s a place where a lot of supernatural events have taken place, and the laws of physics are sometimes temporarily suspended. There was much speculation that Beth was headed there on Halloween.


Recently a few pictures appeared on the site, depicting a poorly-shot incident on Oct. 31 apparently involving a few pranksters, a glow stick, and a Blair Witch party. Just kidding. But there’s a mysterious dude standing very still in the background, can you figure out what he’s doing?



Periodical headed by Beth’s friend Phillip Gairden (also known by his Atlantis-related passwords [Metadex=Critias, Little-Boxes=Timaeus]. Like Beth, Phillip is an obsessive documenter of ‘paranormal’ events, and many descriptions of these events can be found in his journal. A handy timeline of their research, along with various other ARG-related events, can be found here.



An underwater resort hotel being built near the island of Mykonos in Greece, with assistance by Metacortechs. Stay in the Triton Suite, enjoy the panoramic underwater views, and be sure to catch the adult mermaid show at 10! For more on this very convoluted subject, I again turn it over to Yanka.



Architecture firm based in Redland, responsible for designing the Metacortex buildings in New York City and Chicago, as well as the Aquapolis. The President and CEO is (or, was) one Mr. Robert A. Emerson, about whom you can read above.



On Nov. 20th, this doodle was in Beth’s Metadex. If you look closely at the drawing, you can see the following numbers: 7024070925. Quickly deducing that it was a phone number, we called it and got a Mr. Schuffhausen, who told us he was a spiritual healer who organized ‘seminars’, and that his website had more information. Check it out, look like anyone you know? Furthermore, we also figured out that it was registered by AQN. And further still, look closely at the good doctor’s ensemble; the red silk shirt, the metallic tie that screams upward mobility (or Regis Philbin in a Men’s Wearhouse, either one), the stiffly arched back…does it remind you of anyone? How about if I put these pictures next to each other…



                        HARD STUFFS OVER!                             





Had enough? I know, a lot of information to digest. And remember – this is merely a primer, intended to submerse you into the Metacortechs ARG in the most painless way possible. I cannot stress enough the importance of the search tool; there’s simply no substitute for reading the forum, digesting the information as you see fit, and posting with your own crazy ideas whenever you like. Sometimes you might get shot down, ignored, or even trouted, but don’t sweat it.


Every so often, check out BriEnigma’s thoughtmap, for several reasons. One, it’s an excellent way to see all the interpersonal connections in one place. Second, it’s a great reminder of how creative some of the people on this forum are. Or maybe we just have too much time on our hands. I prefer to think of it the first way.


I find it very helpful to create a favorites folder full of in-game sites for handy viewing. Organize your folder however you like, but it should probably include the following sites:


Unforum: Metacortechs

He Is Missing

She Is Missing


Leo Kane

Little Boxes





Paranormal Research Journal

The Aquapolis

The Cascade Vortex

The Nekodas

Underscore Hosting



For more site-specific linking, the following links have been completely compiled on Unfiction:


Known email addresses

All JPEGs and GIFs

In-Game Websites

File creation/update times for most files

MetaCortechs scroller text archive

All songs

And the granddaddy of them all (triumphant music please…)

All known URLs



In addition to these sites, you may also wish to include the following invaluable puzzle-cracking tools:



A good binary translator

An explanation of Boolean searching

An explanation of HTML code

An ROT translator

A Morse code translator

A primer on ASCII

A Base-64 converter



And if you still have any questions, there are a number of excellent guide sites that have been set up specifically for this ARG:


ParityBit’s Site

Down The Rabbit Hole

Matrix Information Collection

MetaCortex Secrets

The MetaCortex Conspiracy

NetNinja Metacortex


Have fun, play nice, and I’ll see you in the Rabbit Hole!


joebrent and Yanka