ilovebees Game GuideIt all began when Steve of ARGN received a FedEx package containing some honey. Rearranging the letters contained inside the bottle brought us to ilovebees.com, a site for Margaret Efendi's honey-selling business. Problem was, the site was having some Issues. Something calling itself SPDR -- System Peril Distributed Reflex -- had apparently taken it over. Images files were showing up as corrupted, some sort of computer code appeared here and there, and more text prefaced with MAYDAY appeared as well!
At the bottom of the main page, we found a link to a FAQ to find out what was going on with the ilovebees.com site. This led us to the http://ilovebees.blogspot.com blog of Dana Awbrey, Margaret's niece. She's the technical one in the family, so she's been the site support for her Aunt for many years. Even still, Dana was as confused about what was going on as everyone else. Not to mention she was concerned that, with the site problems, she wasn't going to be able to leave for her trip to China like originally planned!
So back to the problems... rather freaky. On the main page, SPDR had an ominous countdown going. By July 27 it said that "network throttling would erode", and by August 24, it said "this medium will metastasize." Ouch! That doesn't sound too good. Needless to say, Aunt M got the "heebie jeebies" when informed about all that was going on. The feelings are mutual.
Poking around the ilovebees.com site more produced some interesting effects -- the images changed every time the page reloaded. Not only that, they changed in different ways! It was discovered that, by saving the image files and viewing them in notepad, hidden text was saved inside! Snippets about a Queen and a Widow soon produced a full-fledged story. While a Princess slept and a Flea hid, the Widow used tools to restore the Queen. Just don't get in her way during her return... Could the story be related to the computer code that was also on the site?
Looking more closely at the MAYDAY text, many LiteraryAllusions were discovered. Snippets of The Tempest, Gulliver's Travels, and Robinson Crusoe were intermixed with text relating to ships, beaches, and a shipwreck. A call for help? But why? And from what?
And can't forget the computer code! It sure didn't look like any language anyone had seen before, but it was easy to pick out some of the functions. Whatever it was didn't seem to work at first, but through some good diagnostics, it seemed to finally be able to function. Well, the diagnostics may have been good for it but not necessarily for us.
During all this, lots of people sent emails offering support to Dana and Margaret. We didn't hear back from Margaret at all, but Dana was floored by the amount of help mails she got. Well. Okay. We didn't hear back from Margaret until a few people got a very strange email from her... It seemed to be a compilation of snippets from the emails that were sent to her hotmail account! Mixed in was talk of a "voodoo family" and "voodoo parents". But wait a minute! People were mailing with offers to help -- not anything about voodoo! Was this a message from whatever took over the site? It seemed to want us to "order the messages". Could that have been the Story? A copy was sent to both Dana and Margaret's account.
Strange thing about Margaret's account, however. Dana logged into it -- and there was nothing in there! Zip. Zilch. Nada. Both the inbox and outbox were completely empty. Was this the Entity's doing?
In addition to the discovery of ilovebees.com through the honey, a second medium made itself apparent. In the trailer for the forthcoming Halo2 came, the line reading www.xbox.com seemed to fuzz for a moment and shift into www.ilovebees.com, before it fuzzed back to www.xbox.com. Could the Halo story be involved with this whole mess too?
(Ed. note: Need sleep -- not complete! This is just a quickie intro to what's been going on over the last week. For a more in-depth look as to what's been going on, especially in terms of speculating on the meanings of the text snippets, check out Rowan's guide!)
Picture of honey sent out to members of ARG
And the letters strung together:
(courtesy of: deaddrop.us)
On July 27th, the message on the ilovebees.com front page changed to say "PHASE 1 COMPLETE: Network throttling has eroded". A new image, KillerJpg, appeared on the site, which turned out to have more text hidden inside it. This text consisted of snippets from the emails that had previously been sent to Margaret's address, with cryptic replies. Also, partially cleaned pages surfaced on the site - could these be memory recoveries?
On August 10, the message on the ilovebees.com front page changed to say "PHASE 2 COMPLETE: This medium has metastasized". New hidden text appeared inside the graphics on the site, and new text was embedded in the pages. A second set of partially cleaned pages also appeared, seemingly a site backup. Overall, the appearance of ilovebees changed dramatically... On the links page, sets of GPS coordinates were found. What are these locations supposed to mean? PhaseUpdates of new oddities, with many new questions.
By the end of the week (August 13), Dana in China had learned of all the latest happenings on her Aunt's site and decided to take some action -- she contacted the Sleeping Princess. The EmailExchangesWithDanaAwbreyFridayTh she sent SP was also included in emails she sent players, to let us know what she was doing. Now in Shanghai, where she was learning that sugary dough wasn't always filled with chocolate cream, Dana updated her blog as well.