0xff-ed         10L-A11         BCK_DR         DOK-MTR         DUGA-@         ECCM(DK         fe-13-a         GW5N         GW66N         S.E-CC°#

A Brief Note
I've been trying to write a guide for The Society of Linian Studies, but for some reason, it's just not working for me. Maybe because, despite it's huge amount of content, it's actually pretty easy to follow. Unlike this game. I've gone through and read all the post in the DarkNet forums and I still don't understand how half of the things were discovered and/or figured out. I'm hoping by writing this, things will start to make a little more sense. For me and for everything else.
To get started with Exoriare, the first thing to do is to read the first part of the graphic novel, written by Douglas Rushkoff.

The story starts out following three men in Malta in 1995, the Lieutenant, the Sergeant and Samson, a linguist. They are assigned by the US Army to check out an old munitions cache hidden in an ancient temple after an earthquake. The three men and their guide, Pahana, get spooked while in the temple and hastily retreat after Samson is injured. After exiting the temple, the men are confronted by an armed group led by an unnamed gray-haired man, who informs them that the US Army has no authority to be entering the temple.

Recovering from his wounds, Samson tells his comrades stories that he has heard about the temple - stories involving people disappearing or seeing strange things. The Lieutenant tries to play it off as toxic gas causing hallucinations, but Samson will have none of it. He decides to go back to the temple, alone, and is never seen again. It's assumed that he is killed by the armed group and his empty casket is buried in Denver, CO as his daughter, Claire, looks on.

Jump ahead to 2011. Claire is in school in Boulder, CO, following her father's footsteps by learning linguistics. Although she doesn't seem to get along with her professor, some of her classmates have been having extra meetings with him. One of her classmates, Todd, is asked by Professor Peer to help someone access 'the networks' stating that "Things are happening. People are finding more things than they can hide."

Meanwhile, in Fort Irwin, the Lieutenant, now a Colonel, and the Sergeant, named Anthony, are getting ready to run some sort of test on some "foreign" equipment. The test activates a beam, which in turns causes a number of UFOs hovering over Los Angeles to suddenly become visible. After declaring to his men that the test never took place, the Colonel and Anthony talk about how Samson had been right all along.

So now that you know aliens are aliens are watching Earth, it's time to jump in and join the fight against them. Because aliens are always evil, I guess. Setting themselves up in government agencies, like the FBI, years before the rest of the aliens reveal themselves to everyone on the planet. And then when their partner tries to get information on an (alien) terrorist cell, the alien FBI guy try to kill her. But he fails and she stabs a big piece of metal through his chest, but not until after she sees his alien skin underneath his very cute human exterior. Oh wait, I'm getting this confused with V. Common mistake, right?

Okay, joining the fight against these evil aliens! On page 13 of the graphic novel, you might have noticed that one of the computer screens in last panel is actually animated. That is your portal into the DarkNet, the network that Professor Peer seems to be talking about a few panels before. Clicking on the computer screen whisks you away to a maze that will lead you to the DarkNet.
In order to access the DarkNet, you have to navigate a Zork-like program called White.House. Your goal is find a red button and push it. There are three available: "One's almost buried. One's in the house. One's been forgotten. One's all that's needed." The quickest button to get is the buried one, but it doesn't hurt anything to explore the area fully. There's also the added bonus that if you do something really bad, you just get redeposited back at the beginning, so no worries there. §

You may notice that as you first start out, the game keeps typing out "Open Mailbox" for you. If you open the mailbox, you'll get the text of the Declaration of Independence overlayed on the screen. Eventually it fades out, but as it fades, you'll notice that some of the words don't fade out as quickly. These words tell you exactly what is going on. § See, aliens are evil. The mysterious letter in the mysterious mailbox in the mysterious computer program told you so.

Some other fun things to type while in the White.House program: nasa, waterfall, inventory
Once you have successfully pressed the button, you are deposited into the GeneHack program. § You are required to recreate the DNA sample on the left using the bits and pieces you find with your scanner. There are two trays where you can deposit the DNA fragments: the main tray where the actual assembly will take place and a storage tray where you can keep fragments for later. There's also a acid brush which will allow you to burn off one section of the strand at a time, to fix errors or make the fragments fit together.

The instructions say that this is a time sensitive process, but there is no penalty for failure. In fact, you actually get more time as you fail, so if you're having problems completing it, just allow your current session to fail and start again with more time.

After successfully completing the gene hack, you'll hear a voice saying that the DNA records have been updated. You can now register for access to the DarkNet.

By the way, I know that some people have been having serious problems successfully completing this and thus progressing to the next stage. If you really cannot complete the GeneHack, friend me and send me a message on Twitter and I'll complete the GeneHack (and the one later in the game) and DM you the username and password. That way you won't be left out of the fun.
The registration page tells you that "You are now untraceable via Echelon/Mainframe Tier. Registration is virtually painless - just type in the CAPTCHA letters and you are given a username and password. You can change your password once you're on the forums and even set up an email in case you forget, but you will be required to remember your username in order to login under the same account each time. It's now time to enter the DarkNet.
The DarkNet
The first time you enter the DarkNet, you are greeted by the OLD.BKS message, which promises that your questions will disappear if you just hang in there long enough. §

Once that oh so cryptic, let's raise more questions than we answer, message is over with, you can finally start playing around in the DarkNet. In the beginning, you can only access a few bits of it, but as you complete certain tasks, more things will become available to you.

Right now, you have the following parts of the DarkNet available:
  • D.MUX.R - a program to listen in on radio conversations
  • FOR.UMS - the DarkNet forums
  • OLD.BKS - the Old Books message
  • A.TCK.DG - a program that allows you to exploit specific web addresses
  • ECH.LON - a program that scans cities for voiceprint matches
The Forums FAQ
You may or may not want to check out the Forums first. The players have posted most of what they've found, although it can be a little haphazard going through it, and it's not always clear as to how they got from point A to point B. However, the FAQ section of the Forums has some pretty interesting reading on what the DarkNet is and what you've experienced so far. §

Even though it's not one of the links in the DarkNet, you should also be aware of the Wiki that has been set up by the players: http://exoriare.wikia.com/wiki/Exoriare_Wiki There's a lot of great reference information in it, so you should at least glance through it just to see all the small little connections between bits and pieces of this game. It really makes you appreciate the detail that went into this game.

Now that we have a basic idea of what we're dealing with, it's time to start playing around on the DarkNet. We'll start out with ECH.LON because that will give us the best base to deal with the other programs.
In case you missed it in the FAQ, "Echelon is a mass-population surveillance system that tracks people by using a combination of voice-prints and keywords." All you need is a voice sample and a possible city they were in, and it will try to track down the last communication it picked up from that person.

To get started, click ECH.LON on the DarkNet, make sure the aud-vox-raw.bin file is selected and click Load. This will bring up a screen where you can see the data record of a Dr. Gideon Marconi and a search box that will check specified cities for his voice print. §

For most cities that you put in, you'll either get an error stating "Search criteria must be refined. City exceeds maximum number of entities." or "0 matches for this location. (ECH TIER)". So our first mission is to figure out a city that Gideon would have been in.

Looking at his profile, you can see he has three active flags: NSAP, FORINT, JPL. NSAP is more than likely the National Scientific Advisory Program, FORINT I'm guessing is Foreign Intelligence, and JPL is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is located in Pasadena, California. Entering "Pasadena" into the search field gets us our first hit.

You'll notice a blue bar light up at the bottom of the screen. Clicking this will bring up the file TCM-MCR-ECH-TC-REF(9B)+5263C0 and allow you to hear a conversation between Gideon and an unknown gentleman. §

Somewhat of a strange call. We know that Gideon is being investigated for treason and now he can't even leave the country. As for what the bracelet, obelisk, City of the Gods or orbits means, we have no idea. At least not yet. Since we can learn nothing more in ECH.LON for now, we have to check somewhere else.
A.TCK.DG allows you to remotely access specific websites, provided they are susceptible to exploits. To get started, however, you do need an IP address. Although we haven't been given an usable addresses, we have been given the information on how to obtain one.

At the end of the Old Books message, there was a series of numbers given to us: "682, twenty-three, 615, 7 sixty-seven." We were also told "Five steps down. Five steps up. The key is rotting." In order to get a usable IP address out of 682.23.615.767 we need to either subtract or add 5 to each of the digits. § We now have a usable IP address to input into A.TCK.DG:

Open up A.TCK.DG, enter the IP then Scan for exploits. This will take a few moments to complete. You'll be informed that an exploit has been found for JPL.NASA.GOV. § Now you're ready to launch the exploit. In order to launch it correctly, you have to input the order correctly, otherwise it will fail. § Once the sequence is completed, the exploit will launch and a connection will be established. You are now connected to the JPL server. However, because you are connected outside of the DarkNet, you are susceptible to being traced. If the trace gets too close to finding you, your connection will be terminated, so you have to make good use of your time.
NASA Server
You're now in Gideon's directory on the NASA Server. Most of the functions don't work since they have been transferred to the authority of FEMA, but the Transfer/Backup all files command works. There are 8 available files and 5 deleted files. You need to download as many of these files as possible. This is easier said than done because as soon as you start downloading, the remote computer starts to trace your connection.

A chat window will pop up and start to ask you a series of questions. The initial questions vary, and if you answer any of them incorrectly, you'll find your connection being terminated after you've downloaded only two files: Some.Of.Four.Primes.Carriers and CLEO(patched).

However, if you answer the first questions correctly, you are then asked another series of questions. If you pretend to be Gideon, you'll be able to progress farther in your downloading efforts. There are variations on some of the questions, but they still require the same input. Don't worry too much now about getting a question wrong. You can keep going back into the NASA server and trying again, just as long as you DO NOT complete the GeneHack that shows up in the DarkNet after you get kicked out of A.TCK.DG. [UPDATE: It now seems that the A.TCK.DG lockout might not happen for new users, so that's good news.] §

Unless you get a lucky guess, your cover as Gideon will be blown on the letter question. But that's okay, because you got enough downloaded to figure out what the next answer.
When you get kicked out of A.TCK.DG, you'll hear a voice talking telling you that your network has been compromised. It's the same voice that was in the Pasadena ECH.LON file talking to Gideon. §

Pahana? The tour guide from the desert temple in Malta? What is he doing tracing our connection and getting into the DarkNet? That's a mystery for another time, I guess. Right now, we're going to ignore his request for help. By helping him (via GeneHack2) we end up locking ourselves out of the NASA server, and we don't want that right now.
Gideon's Directory
Instead, check out one of the other new points in the DarkNet: GID.DIR. This allows you to see the files that have been downloaded via A.TCK.DG. You'll see you actually got five files: Some.Of.Four.Primes.Carriers, Four.Prime.Carriers(PRINT), CLEO, NTRNL and TQT. The Some.Of.Four.Primes lets you spin around a wheel and match up writing that has been found in the Voynich Manuscript. If you click in the very center of the wheel, the inner most ring will switch between Voynich letters and Latin. The Four.Prime.Carriers(PRINT) is printable image of the same wheel, except the innermost wheel only has the Latin letters. CLEO scrolls through a series of pictures: a ruined temple, a map, wall drawings, a submarine, and a picture of the constellation Leo. NTRNL and TQT both have more writing from the Voynich Manuscript.

So how do we figure out how many letters are in the letter? The question is asking how many unique characters there are in the NTRNL file. There are a couple of ways to figure this out. The most obvious is just to count what you see in the NTRNL file, but that can be pretty annoying trying to make sure that you didn't miss one. The easier way is to count the number of characters there are in the second ring of Four.Primes, since that contains all of the same unique characters as is in NTRNL (since it can be used to decode Voynich letters into Latin letters). There also seems to be a third confirmation of the number - by adding the first set of handwritten numbers on the bottom of NTRNL (sum the four primes). Whatever way you do it, the answer you need is 17.
NTRNL file
Since we are already looking at Some.Of.Four.Primes and NTRNL files, we might as well use them together to figure out what NTRNL is saying. First, take a look at the TQT file. There are 20 "words" paired up on the page, although most of them are crossed out. What you want to look at are the uncrossed pairs one at a time.

On Four.Primes, you need to find the upper word on the outer ring and the lower word on the inner ring and match them up. Now you need to rotate both rings together until all of the consonants in the inner ring are unique. Clicking out beyond the outer ring will rotate both rings together. If you lined up the words at the bottom of the screen, you will need to rotate the wheel 11 spaces clockwise to have the wheel in the correct position and will be able to match up the Voynich letters to their Latin counterparts. Now you can decode the first paragraph of NTRNL. To decode the other two paragraphs, match up the other symbols on TQT and repeat the process. §

There's one more step to complete since it's still somewhat gibberish. That's because the codewheel didn't provide any vowels, C's, J's, K's or punctuation. So you need to add or change some letters to get it into a readable condition. § Wow, someone is really unhappy with G - who is probably Gideon since that's the only G we know so far and in his own words he is considered a traitor by some.
NASA Server, Try Two
Since we know how many letters (unique Voynich letters) are in the letter (NTRNL), let's see if we can get any farther into ATK.DG. §

That didn't get us very far. And since we didn't hear Gideon give out the access codes on the Pasadena conversation, we can't give them out here. Although, it's hard to say if we would be confirming the access codes or just giving them to Pahana. Maybe there is another way to get information out the NASA server.
Not Gideon
What if we tried to pretend we were someone other than Gideon? Would that allow us to do anything else? §

Well, that didn't get us very far. But at least now we have two things that could help us possibly progress on the file downloads: Gideon's access codes and a Mission name.
Second ECH.LON City
Luckily, there's still a lot of information we haven't accessed yet that can hopefully provide us with the information we're looking for. It seems that there should be more ECH.LON files on Gideon if we just knew where to look. We know he had recently seen Cleopatra's Needle. There are three obelisks that are referred to as Cleopatra's Needle: in Paris, London, and New York City. Since Gideon supposedly can't leave the country, we might as well try to see if he went to Cleopatra's Needle in New York City.

This is where playing with ECH.LON gets a tad annoying. Typing in New York will tell you that the search criteria must be refined. But typing in New York City will net you zero results. So it would almost appear as if NYC isn't the correct location we're looking for. But technically it is. The obelisk is located in Central Park, which is in Manhattan, which is a borough of New York City. So we need to answer Manhattan for the second city (entering Central Park gives back an unrelated lookup). §

Well, it doesn't look like we're going to get the access codes from Gideon any time soon. But maybe now that he knows he's not on a watch list, he can travel outside of the country and maybe he'll check out one of the other obelisks.
Third ECH.LON City
There's one other thing you have to know about entering cities into ECH.LON - you have to enter them in the correct order. If you try to enter Manhattan before Pasadena, it will show up with zero results. Since it seems that the Manhattan conversation takes place after Pasadena, an unknown (but not insignificant) amount of time passes from when you enter one city to the other. Either that or Gideon has a transporter that he can just whisk around the world with.

Pahana says that there is a location in the letter that Gideon has, presumably the NTRNL letter. There is nothing specifically mentioned, so either it has something to do with the handwritten numbers on the bottom of the page, or it's obfuscated in the text. Of course, we don't even know if the city in the letter is the next place Gideon went. But we do have other clues.

As I said before, there are three obelisks that are known as Cleopatra's Needle. We know that Gideon visited the NYC needle. The twin of that needle is located in London in the City of Westminster. Add in the fact that there is an SREP NOTIFY for the UK Liaison attached to his profile, and it seems like it might be a good bet that's where he went. Except that neither London or City of Westminster work. However, the City of Westminster borders the City of London, a Square Mile in the heart of London that has its main boundaries marked by Dragon statues. And this is the third city that Gideon visited. §

Well, it seems that Gideon knows how the Echelon program works. He doesn't even have to call anyone, just pick up a phone and talk into it and his message will get to the people tracking him. However, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to try to talk to Gideon after he's hung up the phone.

Unfortunately, the London message didn't really give us a clue as to where Gideon could be headed next. Place de la Concorde, the location of the last obelisk, doesn't give us any results, so that's out. And since we still don't have the access codes or a mission name, we can't progress any further on A.TCK.DG. But there is one entire section (not counting GNE.HCK) that we haven't looked at yet - D.MUX.R
D.MUX.R is a bunch of hijacked intercepts of various communications networks that are bundled together under different channels. You can load up to four different channels on the demuxer interface at once. Once a channel is loaded, you can adjust the frequency of the sound band anywhere from 0 to 180. There's also a volume control with a small button on the side of the channel that will effectively mute the channel without having to switch directly to it.

The interesting thing about the various channels in D.MUX.R is that they often overlap each other. You might hear one part of a conversation on one frequency and channel while the other half is on entirely different channel and frequency. While it's time consuming to go through each frequency on each channel, there is a huge amount of information to be had, so there's a big payoff.

If you first visited D.MUX.R when you entered the DarkNet, there would have been four channels available to you: DUGA-@, 0xff-e, BCK_DR, and GW5N. Once you unlocked the Manhattan intercept, four more channels became available: fe-13, ECCM(D, 1OL-A1, GW66N. It also seems that other intercepts are added to the previous channels, so you're going to have to make sure you go back and rescan the channels as more is discovered via ECH.LON

Because the of the way the intercepts loop, it can be a bit difficult to find some of them as you scan the sound bands. Most of the intercepts have quite a bit of dead air, and if you hit a dead air patch as you're scanning, you might not stick around long enough to hear anything. However, the intercepts do cover a range of frequencies, so you don't have to worry about picking the exact frequency number to hear a particular intercept.

Due to the huge amount of information that the D.MUX.R channels have, they have their own dedicated page with the different audio syncs listed separately.
NASA Server, Try Three
Hopefully after listening to all of the intercepts on ECH.LON, we have enough information to answer the questions that will come on A.TCK.DOG. § Well, that didn't get us much further.

Okay, here is where we run into a major problem. The next question asked to progress the file download asks for a ground station name. Unfortunately, at this particular point, I can't find where a ground station name is available to us to use - either because there isn't one, or I just haven't found it yet. You do a ground station name after you complete GNE.HCK2, but this ends up technically locking you out of the A.TCK.DG exploit. Obviously you could get back in by creating a new profile (or realize you can bypass A.TCK.DG and access the NASA server directly), but that seems like a bit of a cheat to me despite the fact that this is how it was solved to begin with. Unless the idea is that you would be able to contact other people in the DarkNet with access to the ground file names and acquire the information that way, but that still seems inelegant.

So we're left with a dilemma: continue on without getting the last files, or use the knowledge in the forums to progress. Since there's still a ton of information left in Gideon's directory (that actually seems to be referenced in the D.MUX.R intercepts), we're going to cheat a bit and grab the files.

By the way, if you happen to figure out where you could acquire a ground station name before you complete GNE.HCK2 or what Gideon's access codes are (it's hinted in GW66N:62 and DUGA-@:133 that it can be worked out from Gideon's interrogation in GW5N:133 and 10L-A11:91), please let me know. I would love to be able to update this section with a 'correct' process rather than this work around. §

Hooray! That one ground station name basically netted us three additional files considering the ease of subsequent questions: DPR.Image-23571113, P.Field.Notes and V.M. Pages. You should now have a total of 8 files in GID.DIR.
Since we've seemingly got all we can out of the NASA server, it's now time to Pahana into the DarkNet so that he can help us since we've been completely comprised. We need to modify his MAINCORE DNA profile so that it is unable to track him. When you enter GNE.HCK, you get a message that says "We cannot protect everybody. Make a choice." and can either continue or abort (just in case you entered by accident). We want to continue.

This is pretty much exactly like the first GeneHack you completed. The only difference seems to be that sometimes the DNA fragments are greyed out when you scan over them so you can't tell exactly what sequences are available until you pick them up, which makes it a little bit more difficult, but not much.

Once you complete the GeneHack, you get a message stating that the target (now named Pahana12) has full privileges, although they may experiences some side effects when communication over the phone or internet. §

The screen then starts spitting out all sorts of names and numbers, presumably other members of the network. Pahana then starts to send you a message about trying to help you before the DarkNet is shut down permanently. § You now have access to a new program: GL.BAL FORAGER*
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See the Intro page for a list of all the websites, plus brief information about this guide and the game.