|Creators||Alice & Smith & Paradox Interactive|
The Tender ARG is an official ARG produced by veteran puppetmasters Alice & Smith on behalf of Paradox interactive.
The story surrounds Tender - a seemingly normal dating app which intends to pair soulmates using Procedural Emotion Generation via Machine Learning (or PEGML). At the same time a conspiracy website - Trust No More - is releasing information that suggests a more malevolent nature to the app.
|List of additional pages|
|List of Tender Quests||All of the quests within the Tender app, including methodology and solutions.|
|List of BetrayedMind1 responses||All of the official responses discovered as part of the BetrayedMind1 Tender chatbot.|
|Omega Dataset||All of the commands, logs and queries found relating to the Omega Dataset|
- 1 KnoxJ2019
- 2 Trust No More & Tender Beta
- 3 Knox's Flight
- 4 Los Angeles live drop
- 5 Accessing Tender Beta
- 6 Tender's New York Group Test
- 7 Preparing for San Francisco
- 8 Meeting BetrayedMind1 on Tender
- 9 Operation Pegasus
On 2019-01-19, a Twitter account with the handle @KnoxJ2019 (full name John Knox) began posting a series of small puzzles. Around the same time, a number of prominent YouTubers began linking KnoxJ2019's account to their followers.
Twitter Puzzle 1
The first set of clues from KnoxJ2019's account included a picture of constellations and a Pastebin link. The constellations were identified as Cassiopeia, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Taurus and Scorpius. The position of each red star within each constellation (as well as the total number of stars) was noted. For instance, Cassiopeia has 5 stars and the 2nd star in Cassiopeia is highlighted. Each of these pairs were then used for a book cipher with the Pastebin, with the total number of stars determining the word and the highlighted star number determining the letter. Using this method resulted in the first word of the cipher: TRUST.
Twitter Puzzle 2
The second set of tweets involved a string of numbers and an alphabetical equation. The string of numbers was solved by working out that every odd-numbered position (1st, 3rd, 5th number) increases by 2 each time, and likewise every even numbered position increases by 3. This resulted in the number 14, which was converted to 'N', the 14th letter in the alphabet.
The alphabetical equation tweet read as follows:
G + A + G = ?
By converting each letter into a number based on its position, then converting back, the following equation was revealed:
7 + 1 + 7 = ?
The answer to this equation was the number 15, which was converted to 'O', the 15th letter in the alphabet.
Putting the two letters together yielded the word NO.
Twitter Puzzle 3
Players first found a clue to the spam message by searching Knox's liked tweets, which included one where Keralis hinted at some form of cipher which is designed to look like spam. The spam message cipher was identified as Spammimic. The message was entered into the decoder to discover the text "12 - x - 14". This was interpreted as a sequence where x is 13, which was swiftly converted to 'M', the 13th letter of the alphabet.
By this point, players had deduced that the message read as follows:
TRUST NO M____
Eventually, players were able to guess that the completed phrase was TRUST NO MORE.
Trust No More & Tender Beta
After the TRUST NO MORE phrase was revealed, KnoxJ2019 posted a link to a website called trustnomore.com. This same tweet contained another link to tenderbeta.com, which appeared to be advertising a new dating app.
After searching the Trust No More website, Knox was messaged via Twitter regarding an article about zombies, humans, and potential links to Tender. Knox replied with information about BetrayedMind1, who told him about the dangers and experiments that Tender is involved with (as also seen on Trust No More). Also included was a picture showing the chat system and part of the UI within Tender (including the latest message from BetrayedMind1).
Players followed a link within the aforementioned article to the Tender Beta site where a registration page was found. Signing up for the beta with an email address resulted in a queue position number being assigned to the player.
A second article on Trust No More was posted by Manchuria which detailed that a cache of data had been uncovered under the label "Project Chimera". Also noted was that each of the files uncovered appeared to be related to the CEO of Tender - Malcolm Chandler. Finally, the author of the article uncovered an image, but this image has no significance as of yet.
Shortly thereafter, Knox tweeted the following message:
Something is coming up on Saturday and I’ll need your help. The only problem is that I’m only going to be available during my flight [ UA 264 ] from SF to Houston. I’m counting on you guys!
Messages from Tender
Players noticed that several YouTubers and Twitch streamers started to have a random alphanumeric code appear in their video accompanied by a pink smoke. This was first noticed on a video from Keralis - a popular YouTuber who Knox has communicated with via tweets in the past. Soon other creators were found to have a similar message. Below is a list of all known messages that have been sent out so far.
Keralis - Cities Skyline Video
On 2019-01-09, Keralis posted his first episode of a new Cities Skyline series. At 02:01 the code 3ej26jqf can be seen to appear on screen unexpectedly. Keralis appeared to be unaware of this and made no comment in the video or in the description. This code let to a pastebin with the following message:
phase 1 initiated
GassyMexican - Red Dead Redemption 2 Stream
On 2019-01-19, GassyMexican streamed gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2. At 01:52:51 of the saved livestream the code 2Hawuq0 could be seen. This was a bit.ly link that led to the following pastebin message:
Here’s an exclusive look at our chat feature coming directly from one of our dearest user, PrettyCat95. https://bit.ly/2SPFEd0
This new bit.ly link led to an imgur image showing chat messages between PrettyCat95 and Knox.
Keralis - Minecraft Video
On 2019-01-19, Keralis posted a Minecraft video which included a short discussion about the events so far regarding Knox and Trust No More. At 0:53 in the video the code 5PCgKkRH can be seen. This code led to a pastebin with the following message:
Welcome future Tender users, We have been in contact with some of your favorite influencers who will soon make a very important announcement. Stay alert, your help will be required in launching our amazing new website, Tender. Much Love, Your friends at Tender
Right after the code appeared, Keralis mentions the ongoing puzzles, how Knox is his friend and that he has read some of the articles on Trust No More
Keralis - Soviet Republic Video
I never go left and I am never wrong, ever Start the sequence by one and add this number Until you have a thumb, an index, a middle, a ring and a little finger Go back to one when you reach the latter. For each period and mark that you encounter, Restart the sequence with the first number This will affect all the characters Mix lettuce, croutons, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire Anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. It will give you a salad that hold the key to this cipher. /// Tq kiwf ary fsg. Igui bf cop fsg. Cww ambv lw mfth? Xgop xjv gsbo cqh bf’no jnmn bsz jp rr biq zi fsg dri xjb aj bth htjpj xmju. Mgw’w ybmh e xugs ffdm lr yjoh xt uyr xmpwvese hrywughr. Qkfxzsg d wrbno, xbp dhhwpqp eubtwqjov fsswguxje husr b vkvjf uweqm idvfhg lr Sfy Bswl. Pwu jtvpgiwt ohx zq cv e lsqxt tg rhsumg zlt icg isdqxryfthh jwguc kbnvi xucux, gsqnis igdvy, bpg wyfthsyzrlgfm rlxkbno sk ppomsf odxhiodonoi. Ujuszhj pyhi edjkfkqi fof gvd-ftdwj cqdvi teumgcnlrl, ujhc gfidr yig fssdgsxx ujdx bpwoh ybmh wtdkdp rffle fof lryftqiy ecwmsh cqh rbmh my ujhmw pyq. Ncnmsh kw szsu: Zljsg gmi xg jiy pwu mifc isw pwu eqhqumyiov? Telisdg rj hpwuwj! Pxhv f gqxv dfcu xwjco tjskrh, ztkqk Usqfiivtdp Jnqwmto Ihrjscwmto xle Rbekmsf Nhewokqk (ts RHKRM), c omyunh ewu, cqh f ecvl tg gptfujb, aj egyiqprhh bicw aj iqsi bjno fj UJH vjwqoyyjqq ms ppomsf odxhiodonoi. B vhgmoqoslz cqh f ugflsjsxi yicw eqmqzw FMN ws kjpg e hppqihukrr (mpyhzjs vkid egimsf vkey) ujdx nt tlkmu hrv yigp. Oq peyugu ctvt eehliuszof, wljsg lw xpohssf qxx yigui biq vtfsmv ctvt lrsft fljnkvxwz. Yh ltqg ws rbmh xmbv fssogfxnpp keuqgq jts ARY. Bu d xwvg wvjofviyugu ese gdvqz cgsuugu, aj icyi fo kqgwfflfqf lrywogb emfcg. Gtrq fmn rj zt jhvj bv Wisegu: Xmbpn ctv hrv opkqmsh. Ujh Xjbo
The first half (non-ciphered) was quickly identified as relating to a Caesar cipher, but with a constantly changing ROT value. By using a vigenere key of bcdef, and resetting at every punctuation mark or new line, players quickly deciphered the second half to:
So here you are. Here we all are. But what is here? Well sit down and we’ll fill you in on who we are and why we are doing this. Let’s take a step back in time to two thousand fourteen. Picture a small, two bedroom apartment converted from a three stall garage in New York. Our founders met up as a group of people who had encountered every false start, broken heart, and stereotypical pitfall of online matchmaking. Through much caffeine and dry-erase board scribbling, they began the concepts that would take social media and internet dating and make it their own. Making it ours: Where did we get our idea for our algorithms? Science of course! Over a four year trial period, using Procedural Emotion Generation via Machine Learning (or PEGML), a little art, and a dash of empathy, we developed what we hope will be THE revolution in online matchmaking. A technology and a technique that allows ALL to find a connection (however they define that) that is right for them. No matter your background, there is someone out there who sparks your inner chemistry. We hope to make that connection happen for YOU. As a true trendsetter and early adopter, we have an incredible journey ahead. From all of us here at Tender: Thank you for joining. The Team
On Saturday, January 26, Knox made the following tweet:
The bit.ly link led to the following string:
When decoded using BASE85, the message instead reads:
Everything is connected. The main connection is the answer.
This was emailed to the provided contact address, however this was not the correct response with the contact replying:
If you're reading this, well...nice try but that's not it. She needs people who can deal with things, heavier things than these puzzles. C'mon, next time you contact me, you better have the right answer. < 1969-41-1 >
Searching the TNM site for 1969-41-1 resulted in an error page with 3 sets of articles, times and answer string formats.
Article 1 - FBI leaks federal secrets
The first article was timed for 16:37 UTC, at which time the linked article updated to include a crossed-out line at the bottom:
Fear and Dread are my “children”. I am close to you but how close am I from the “Sol”
Fear and Dread were identified as referencing Phobos and Deimos - the children of Aphrodite and Ares. Sol was identified as the Latin name for the Sun in our solar system. Finally, Ares is the Greek god equivalent of roman god Mars. Since Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun, the answer was determined to be 4.
Article 2 - The Murder Carpet
The second article was time for 19:14 UTC. When the time elapsed the following string was added to the bottom of the relevant article.
I am composed of 5.9% red, 32.2% green and 72.9% blue You can find me between the 5th and 6th knuckle.
The colour was quickly identified as Sapphire. The 5th and 6th knuckle referred to the 1st and 2nd knuckle of the right hand (5th and 6th when both hands are together). This translates to September when using knuckles to count months. As confirmation, Sapphire is also the birth stone of September.
Article 3 - Blood Moon: A Heavenly Body Abused
The final article was scheduled for 21:22 UTC but was released early due to the progress of players. This new article did not contain a line at the bottom but instead an image which, when clicked on to enlarge, revealed a transparent layer with 4 symbols hidden in the image previously. These symbols were found to be numbers that were cut off half way through - 1, 7, 8 and 1.
Response from the Messenger
With this, players had a full date - 4 September 1781. This was the same date that Los Angeles was founded. A second email was sent to the provided address stating that Los Angeles was the answer (as well as the solution method), with the following response received:
Los Angeles? Yes, that's it. That's what she told me. Here, you might have more info on what she's going on about: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 213, 233, 266, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6785, 7737, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025, 121393, 196418, 317811
This was quickly identified as very similar to a Fibonacci sequence, but with additional numbers inserted - namely 213, 266 and 7737. This corresponded to a US phone number in the LA area (213-266-7737). Players who called this number heard an automated message with a modulated voice reading the following message:
Hello there, Knox I see you've made your way through the puzzles. Well done. You have proven trustworthy enough to meet in person next weekend. We have some business to discuss at that time. You better be serious about this
After updating Knox on this message, it was made clear in a tweet that he would not be available on the weekend and as such someone would need to go to Los Angeles and meet the user who has been communicating with him.
Los Angeles live drop
On 2019-01-31, Knox tweeted that he had contacted BetrayedMind1 about the planned meeting in order to get more information on where it is taking place. The user refused to give this information, instead saying that "it's something you're already aware of".
The following day, after receiving no firm idea on where the meeting is to be held, Knox ran through the list of everything known so far in a tweet. Of note was that the phone number was written down in whole, rather than just referred to. When players called this number again, they found that rather than an automated message, background noise could be head from someone driving.
Finding the location
The first message users found was at 16:33 UTC on 2019-02-01. It contained background audio from a radio station, a turn signal and then the following Sat Nav message:
Continue straight onto Hollywood Boulevard
At 17:13 UTC another player called the same number and found a different message, featuring the same background radio stations, the below Sat Nav message followed by another turn signal:
Turn right onto Berendo Street
At 18:31 UTC, a third message was found, with the same background audio as the two previous messages and a new Sat Nav line:
Turn left onto Franklin Avenue
At 20:01 UTC the fourth message was found, with the following Sat Nav direction:
Turn right onto Western Avenue
This new direction was sent to Knox, who in turn tweeted that he would contact BetrayedMind1 for more details. This resulted in nothing more as Knox followed up to say that everything had been provided to us. The only new information was the she had been repeatedly using the Dizzy Symbol emoji (💫).
Players noted that around the area where the directions stopped, a trail started which led to the Griffith Observatory. This was determined to be likely both due to the emoji containing a star and that earlier in the ARG, the planet Mars was referred to.
Knox contacted BetrayedMind1 once more to verify the location and confirmed shortly afterwards that this is the correct site.
At 1900 UTC on 2019-02-02, 2 players met the contact at Griffith Observatory and received a locked briefcase with a 6 digit code. They were also told "Trust No More" before the contact left the observatory.
At the same time, Trust No More updated with a page containing 6 lines of numbers.
-07.16/-78.53/+1533/2of4 +30.80/+31.83/-1213/1of4 +36.36/+43.15/-627/3of4 +41.90/+12.49/+54/4of4 +47.08/+08.43/+1935/4of4 +50.19/+14.66/+935/1of4
Players worked to decipher the numbers however were unable to work out the solution until 2 additional hints were provided. The first linked to a list of minor planets named after people and the second linked the first co-ordinates to Cajamarca, Peru.
Players quickly worked out that each of the 6 sets of numbers corresponded to a location (latitude, longtitude) and then the third number referred to a year of death for someone significant there - specifically someone who now has a planet named after them. This resulted in the following 6 planets:
4721 Atahualpa 4416 Ramses 7208 Ashurbanipal 7117 Claudius 1128 Astrid 8740 Vaclav
After attempting to enter a code based on the digit in each number (1 of 4 in 4721 would be 4), one final hint was provided in the form of a youtube video. With the title "The Order of Death", players deduced that the order of planets would need to be rearranged in chronological order of death. The new list (and corresponding digit) was:
4416 Ramses - 4 7208 Ashurbanipal - 0 7117 Claudius - 7 8740 Vaclav - 8 4721 Atahualpa - 7 1128 Astrid - 8
The code 407878 was entered and the briefcase was successfully unlocked. Inside multiple items were found including a pen, a redacted document from Tender, a page with unusual symbols, 2 pages about scientific tests, a book on blood types, a recipe for a pancake, sunglasses, a tag that says "trustnomore.com/xxxxxxx" and a notebook.
The recipe was found to contain peculiar capitalisation throughout, with the capital letters spelling PUVZREN.
When appending PUVZREN to the trust-no-more.com URL, a password protected page was found.
The censored Tender document was a memo from CTO Jobe Preston to CEO Malcolm Chandler, discussed something known as the "Regent [censored]", which only "a very few elite clients will have access to" and "allows access to the biometric readings of other users". It also mentions this is a secret to most within Tender itself, with only a small number of employees aware of it.
Additionally, two handwritten notes from someone presumably working at Tender were found. The first detailed research into behavioural tests on rodents and pigeons:
- Skinner Box technique. How are brains of rodents similar to primates? How are they different? Adjustments? - Behavior stream. See work by Barker, Kreider, Peissig, Sokoff, Stansfield. - Different results between rats and pigeons. - Operant conditioning paradigm. Can be used to make dependent behavior. A marketing firm's wet dream. But it can be used to purposefully enforce positive behavior and goals. - Differences between discriminative stimulus, operant response, and a reinforcer. - Gamification. Turning life into achievable goals. Driving one forward. - Where is this harmful? How can this be made helpful?
The second detailed how this individual's research has been used for the "Regent Dashboard" as well as some of the effects:
- What's the Regent Dashboard? They apparently had Mitchell Kent, Izabel Russo, and maybe even Carter working on it. Can't get ahold of them, even by proxy. - They twisted my algorithms for what? What is the endgame here? - Definitely heightened dependency. - Biometric readings? - Weird. The conditioning reminds me of the effects of the Toxoplasma parasite on rodents. Doesn't completely change them. Doesn't make them suicidal exactly. Just a subtle shift. Less afraid of open spaces. Inhibited risk judgement. Willingness to step into danger. Behavior that makes them easier to catch for predators - Jobe still refuses to answer
Accessing Tender Beta
On 2019-02-05, Tender started to open it's Beta to other users, giving players their first opportunity to log-in and use the website. In order to access the beta immediately and skip the long queue, a series of unique codes could be used.
The existence of the promo codes was first discovered when Knox tweeted that he had a received a random code from Tender - 4F61 - and asked the community about it. After entering this into the Tender website it was confirmed this was one of the four codes required.
The second code to be discovered was within the following email sent specifically to one player:
Congratulations, you have been selected for an exclusive unique code. Use the community to find them all! Your code: 897E
The third code was found through a new Trust No More article posted by Manchuria (the Tender insider). At the bottom of the article is the struckthrough code 915E.
The fourth and final required code was discovered after calling the phone number used for the Los Angeles meeting. After calling, the following message is heard:
Dear Beta Tester. It is an honour to welcome you...45A9...complete. Good night and good luck
With this, players had all four of the following codes (ordered according to the numbering on Tender's website):
Code #1: 897E Code #2: 4F61 Code #3: 45A9 Code #4: 915E
Of note is that on the same page asking for the Promo Codes, Tender advised there were 5 codes to find and enter, however only 4 code fields to fill in. At the time of finding the fourth code, it was unknown whether this was a mistake or if there is a fifth code somewhere.
The Tender App
After players entered the four promo codes the option to sign up for Tender was made available. Shortly afterwards the need to enter the promo codes was removed, marking the start of the open beta for Tender.
While the process to sign up for Tender is much like any other site, there are a few noticeable differences including:
- Users must select their blood type
- Users select their interests which include both innocuous ones (dogs, movies, music) and more unusual ones (thanatology, murderers, Illuminati)
- Users are asked how they feel, selecting between Hysterical, Sad, Angry or Numb
- Users select a photo to represent them most: the choices include Samara from The Ring, a blood splatter, mealworms and a Clown.
- Users rate how lonely they are on a scale of 1 to 10
Once complete, users are given an automatically generated profile summary based on their selection. The choice of usernames available are also determined by the previous choices.
Once signed up, the user is greeted with their first quest - Welcome to Tender. This video welcomes the user to Tender and says that there will be more quests with availability of them depending on the emotional profile of the user:
Dear Beta Tester - it is an honour to welcome you. In the upcoming weeks, we'll gradually bring other members like you to join our platform and experiment the Tender universe. For this first week, a few exclusive members have been invited to test basic features. Take the time to create your account and profile, and explore the platform. We have 2 or 3 quests for you to complete, depending on your profile and emotional states - you can access them on your Tender home screen. During the next 6 to 8 weeks, we will keep adding various missions and challenges in your account. The more your progress, the more chances you'll have to find your ultimate soulmate, so keep coming back.
Once this quest is complete, players are given several more to choose from. So far, these appear to be split into three categories:
- Green quests represent an Activity Status. These ask the user for more data, such as how they are feeling or what they did yesterday
- Red quests represent an Emotional Activity. These are challenges, acting as small puzzles for the user to work on
- Blue options (not strictly quests) allow users to see other profiles near them and offers the chance to respond or like a profile
Initially, only one Emotional Activity is available - The quest of emotions.... The video asked users to learn about the Robert Plutchik wheel of emotions by listing 7 of the 8 emotions in the wheel, with the final one left for users to find and enter as the answer.
Some of the tasks we will ask you to do involve searching for knowledge, going deep into your soul, or expanding your horizons. Today, we want you to learn more about emotion, namely the Robert Plutchik wheel of emotions - a fundamental work in psychology. Plutchik's research involves the study of suicide, violence and psychotherapy process. He considers there to be 8 primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, and joy. We left out one emotion from that list. Use your research skills on the web to find out what emotion is missing. It is one fundamental emotion in the Tender world. When you've found it, enter the answer in the box below.
After researching online, players found the answer to this activity to be Trust
A full list of quests found within Tender can be viewed at Tender/List of Tender Quests
On 2019-02-08, players who had already signed up to Tender received an email welcoming them to the site. The text in the email itself mainly reiterated what was already known at this point, however a YouTube video was linked in the email.
Also of note is that at the very bottom of the email, the text "MAILID//3ej26jqf" can be seen with a link. This leads to a previously discovered Trust No More article exposing the activities of Tender and highlighting the existence of Project Chimera.
Tender's New York Group Test
The New York City live event was a research and testing event run by Tender in order to facilitate the development of the Regent Dashboard.
Preceding Trust No More articles and surveys
Various articles and surveys were used before the live event in order to gauge interest, provide information on the purpose of the event and - most importantly - select the test subjects that would attend the event.
First Article - Tender: An Evil Wakes
On 2019-02-09, a new article was posted on Trust No More where Manchuria stated "one of my contacts within Tender agreed to meet me in New York on the 23rd. If you can help me and be in the city on that day, please fill out this survey".
The survey asked users general questions such as their Tender username, if they are available on the 23rd and if they have the ability to stream the event, however the survey also asked users about three unique abilities: whether they were fluent in American Sign Language, whether they have lock-picking equipment/skills and whether they have night vision equipment.
Second Article - Tender: It's Spreading Influence
These are 4-hour sessions where they will monitor your biometric data while using Tender, and, based on the result, their algorithm will assemble you into two groups that have to tackle and escape the room. These locations have accumulated hundreds and thousands of group escapes, so I assume they plan to see how the Tender algorithm can match people into perfect groups. Imagine the good this tech could do for the world. I guarantee you Tender has no such benevolent goals.
Manchuria went on to say that 10 volunteers would be selected to attend, with the intention of meeting a Tender insider in-person and receiving "critical intel". A new survey was also linked for users to complete.
Third Article - Tender: New York Experiment
A third and final article was posted on 2019-02-22, the day before the planned event. Within it Manchuria confirmed that 847 people had offered their support and 8 people had been selected to participate on-location. A link to the full set of second survey responses was included.
Also included was a redacted internal document between Malcolm Chandler and Jobe Preston which refers to the New York event, it's relation to the Regent Dashboard and some hints at the other activities Tender is arranging besides this.
Finally, 8 images were posted as part of an ADFS data dump from Tender's servers. These each included an obscured QR code with varying messages.
|No.||Original Image||Corrected Image||Contents|
|2||Saw fan and necromancer. Watching at the sweet spot between cruelty and war to make something new and unique. I am who I am without apology.|
|5||I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I waterd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
23rd March Live Event
Roughly 24 hours before the event started, a Twitch livestream was set up on TenderBeta with security camera feeds on Tender_Lobby, Tender_Sec01 and Tender_Sec02, as well as an additional camera feed on Tender_Quizz. As the event progressed, relevant footage was highlighted on the main TenderBeta channel as it became necessary.
At roughly 20:00 UTC on 2019-02-23, the 8 selected individuals arrived at the designated location - an escape room site called Escapeburg. After signing in, each of the individuals could be seen talking to Matthew, a Tender employee who described himself as Malcolm Chandler's personal assistant. Three of them were then asked to talk into one of the stream cameras while answering several questions such as how lonely they would rate themselves, or whether they believe in a variety of paranormal or supernatural forces.
Once this was complete, the individuals were directed towards their room where they began to work on their puzzles. At the same time, those who were watching the livestream received a code, which acted as the first step in a new set of Tender Quests. Further information on all of the quests within the New York event can be found here.
Over the course of the event, Matthew frequently questioned the participants about their personality traits and current emotional state, while constantly jotting down notes about them. Despite being observed getting frustrated with Malcolm Chandler during a phone call, Matthew appeared to be borderline-obsessed with Malcolm, excitedly handing out Malcolm's business cards to the participants, while claiming that "it makes [Matthew's] blood boil whenever anyone badmouths Malcolm".
Once the room escape had concluded, the subjects taking part found a USB drive which contained a memo file. This turned out to be the non-redacted version of a memo released by Manchuria the day before. Most notably was that a new event was mentioned where "on March 21st... 300 Tender users will be invited to a private party" in San Francisco. Additionally, the first reference to a "hunter" was made while discussing the Regent's Dashboard.
Also, those who were watching the stream were provided with a video clip with a UUID overlayed - likely the video clip that Manchuria had been working to extract and decode recently. This continued to loop for a period of time.
Much of the rest of the stream went by without significant activity until the very end of the stream a few hours later, where the same video clip of the water was playing, however at one point a scream could be heard, and at the very end of the stream someone's voice could be heard talking over the stream saying:
I knew this wasn't gonna end well. I've seen it before - it's one of the reasons I got out. Man, it's really hitting me, that could've been me tonight.
Preparing for San Francisco
The San Francisco event was teased as early as 2019-02-10 when a series of emails were sent to players which would indicate that they had received a a direct message within Tender. Within these emails various messages were hidden, however the exact purpose of the message did not become clear until the end of the aforementioned New York event.
The first email was received on 2019-02-10 with the following text:
Hi! User BetrayedMind1 sent you a direct message! “<error user permissions missing>Pl4Eas1e [email protected] now. Don’t t5rust Tend#er.“
Additionally, the email contained a mailID of nReWdFFq which refers to a Pastebin URL with the following message:
80 10L 28R 10R 28L 1R 19L 1L 19R
All of the text excluding the first line (80) was quickly identified to be referring to the San Francisco Internal Airport (SFO) runway designations. The number 80 would be solved significantly later (after the New York event)
A second email was received on 2019-02-16. The body of the text was adjusted slightly to refer to the Valentine’s Day that had just gone, as well as a message from BetrayedMind1 which included a link to a recent Trust No More article.
The mailID was also updated to gEZKF4ES which resulted in a new pastebin as follows:
80 10L 28R 10R 28L 1R 19L 1L 19R BART Yellow
The BART - or Bay Area Rapid Transit - is a public transportation system in and around San Francisco. The BART Yellow is a line that runs from SFO to Antioch.
A third email was received by users on 2019-02-21. The body of this text changed minimally compared with the second message, with the new mailID being the only thing of note. As before, this led to a new pastebin with the text:
80 10L 28R 10R 28L 1R 19L 1L 19R BART Yellow 16th St Mission
16th St Mission was identified as a station on the BART Yellow, Red, Blue and Green lines.
Fourth Message and New York event
The fourth email was received on 2019-02-23 as part of the New York live event. The contents remained almost the same as the third, with just the body text changing according to the updated events. The mailID remained the same as the third message
The non-redacted memo that was discovered towards the end of the New York event filled in several gaps that had remained up until this point, including most notably the date - March 21st - since this is the 80th day of the year and confirmed the nature of the very first line of each clue.
Additionally, this confirmed that there would be large (~300 people) event in San Francisco during the same time that Game Developers Conference - a well established annual event - would be taking place in the same city.
The memo noted that "users will be invited" to the event, rather than it being open to all. A few days after the discovery of the memo, Twitch streamer Outstar tweeted that they had received an invite.
The email confirmed the date as well as time (announcement show at 20:00 PST/04:00 UTC) and location (Folsom Street Foundry). The location worked out to be a 15 minute walk from the last given location in the pastebins - 16th St Mission BART Station.
Fifth email and event signup
On 2019-03-02, a fifth email was sent to Tender users, detailing more about the San Francisco event and providing a link to signup for an invite. Of note is that while the figure of 300 users was reiterated, it was clarified that 3 users would be flown out to San Francisco at Tender's expense.
Additionally, a new mailID was found which corresponded to an updated pastebin with the following message:
80 10L 28R 10R 28L 1R 19L 1L 19R BART Yellow 16th St Mission Folsom St & 16th St Folsom St & 11th St
By following these new directions, a route leading from San Francisco all the way up to the same block as Folsom Street Foundry was found.
Finally, a new Trust No More article referenced the VIP event and invitation, as well as reiterating the focus on Malcolm Chandler and the Regent Dashboard.
On 2019-03-09, some users received a sixth email with a message from BetrayedMind1, with similar information to the last regarding the event but with a notice that the Angela chat bot had been updated to version 2.0. Additionally, this had a new mailID to an updated version of the Pastebin that has been seen in previous emails containing a code:
80 10L 28R 10R 28L 1R 19L 1L 19R BART Yellow 16th St Mission Folsom St & 16th St Folsom St & 11th St Code: 101751
Meeting BetrayedMind1 on Tender
On 2019-03-02, Tender users received a new soulmate questline specifically surrounding BetrayedMind1. The quests could be answered using knowledge of of previous events in the ARG as well as from the Trust No More site as mentioned by Manchuria here. This article and the corresponding quests confirmed prior suspicions that Manchuria and BetrayedMind1 are the same person.
After completing all 3 of the quests, it became possible to chat with a bot version of BetrayedMind1 known as Angela. While it was possible to ask anything of this bot, only certain phrases resulted in a response pre-programmed by BetrayedMind1. These responses could be identified by a message surrounded in the ⭐ emoji.
So far known phrases or keywords to incite a successful response from the bot include:
- What is Trust No More?
- What is Tender?
- Who is Malcolm Chandler?
- Who is Jobe?
- What is the Regent Dashboard?
- Who are the Exclusive Partners?
- What is the Fraser Foundation?
A full list of questions and the corresponding responses can be found at List of BetrayedMind1 responses
On 2019-03-09, a new Trust No More article was posted which noted that the chatbot had been updated to Angela 2.0.
The ♞ Quest
Players quickly found that by asking anything about San Francisco the bot would return with a response surrounded by ♞ emoji which, as part of it, would ask them to email [email protected] with Manchuria as the subject in order to answer a riddle. Doing so resulted in the below email from Sappho Lesbos:
A Pound of flesh taken at the Siege of Rome. The Ponce Massacre rages on whilst Frost keeps me at home. Théthys and Dioné kept me company when I struck a Poe’s at the gates of Alcatraz as it closed. Then Twitter’s creation gave Words worth as I look forward to celebrating McGinley’s birth.
Each of the six lines refer to specific events in history which took place on March 21st. Additionally, each line refers to a poet - Ezra Pound, Robert Frost etc. - and the email itself also hints at this. While being the data of the San Francisco event, March 21st is also World Poetry Day. By sending this to chatbot a new phone number was provided - 415-325-5770.
Calling the new number resulted in a message which contained altered lyrics from the song San Francisco's Doomed by Crime:
San Francisco's, I need me some fun San Francisco's, I need me some San Francisco's, I feel real sick San Francisco's, I need me some kicks
The original lyrics contained the word doomed after each instance of "San Francisco's". By messaging the bot with doomed, an email address for Trust No More - [email protected] - was revealed with a request to email it with the subject Manchuria. Doing so resulted in an automated reply suggesting further messages would be sent in the future:
Thank you. You will be contacted in a few days. Keep a low profile.
PEGML and the Regent Dashboard
Asking the bot What is PEGML would result in multiple messages explaining what the intended purpose and mechanism of this technology is, however at the end of the conversation the bot mentions that in order to see the impact of this, the user can type load omega.dataset in the chat box. Doing so opens up options to view various logs and evidence of the Regent Dashboard and tests.
A full list of commands and data discovered as part of this can be found on at Tender/Omega_Dataset
Operation Pegasus was the codename for the Trust No More-led operation to gain access to the San Francisco Tender event and stop or disrupt Project Chimera.
Dear TNM followers, There is less than a week left before the Tender event. If you know anyone going to the event, please put them in contact with me. Ground support is key for us to infiltrate the event. Key members at TNM are waiting to be contacted. They will each confirm that they are ready with a coded reply as soon as you email them. Once you have all of them confirmed, I will upload Angela 3.0 with the latest intel I manage to gather from various sources. God speed. - TNM
Key members linked to a password protected redirect.
The cipher could be solved in one of two ways. Either the numbers hidden within each passage could be converted to ASCII, or the corresponding letter could be identified by referencing the book linked by Agent Steelman.
Terra's Chosen - GROUP HERA
“Then call'd Ephyre: Glaucus was h73s son; Great Gl65ucus, father of Bellerophon, Wh79 o'er the sons of men in beauty shined, Loved for that valour which pres69rves mankind.”
The numbers here are 73, 65, 79 and 69. Converting these resulted in I A O E.
Agent Steelman - GROUP ARES
This link led to a copy of The Iliad by Homer.
Zeitgeister - GROUP APOLLO
“Then mighty Praetus Argos' sce80tre sway'd, Whose h65rd commands Bellerophon obey'd. With direful jealousy the monarch ra71ed, And the brave prince in numerous toil83 engaged.”
The numbers here are 80, 65, 71 and 83. Converting these resulted in P A G S.
Lazarus Bob - GROUP POSEIDON
“And Sisyphus, son of Aeol85s, founded Ephyra, which is now called Corin84h, and married Merope, daughter of Atla83. They had a son Glaucus, who had by Eurymede a son Bellero80hon, who slew the fire breathing Chimera.”
The numbers here are 85, 84, 83 and 80. Converting these resulted in U T S P.
Manchuria - GROUP ATHENA
“First, dire Chimaera's conquest was enjoin'd; A mingled monster of n79 mortal kind! Behind, a d82agon's fiery tail was spread; A goat's rough body bore a lion's h69ad; Her pitchy nostrils flaky flames expire; Her gaping throat emits i78fernal fire.”
The numbers here are 79, 82, 69 and 78. Converting these resulted in O R E N.
After all of this, the string of letters found was IAOEPAGSUTSPOREN. This turned out to be an anagram of Operation Pegasus.
By considering this, as well as the context of the passages supplied (that Bellerophon - the rider of Pegasus - slew the Chimaera), the password Bellerophon was found. This led to a pastebin containing the names of the Trust No More staff:
userlist. terraschosen agentsteelman zeitgeister lazarusbob manchuria
Shortly afterwards, a new Trust No More article was published detailing that Angela 3.0 had been uploaded and vowing to bring down Project Chimera.
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