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Well, here it is. Ever since I started transcribing text from the first corrupted page on ilovebees.com, I felt the need to compile everything in one location. Having never been a part of an Alternate Reality Game before, I had no idea what to expect. But as the ARG wore on, and more and more was revealed, I was slowly inspired. In an event like this, a number of people will always step up and help make things easier for everyone else. And I was only one of many. Out there, the beekeepers rallied together, joining forces, and unlike anything I'd ever seen before in my life, came together in one unit, cooperating as a team, in an anonymous online medium. Anonymous in the sense that really, we have no idea the person we may be talking to is who they say they are.
Yet, even through that hurdle, a community formed, friendships were made, and who knows, maybe even a relationship was sparked! Heheh... well, for me at least, ilovebees was a very very enjoyable 3 months. If the goal was first and foremost to advertise the upcoming Halo 2 video game, I stand and applaud. If the goal was to give fans something to for 3 months leading up to the game's release, I stand and applaud. But more than any of that, I can't express enough, the admiration and respect I have for those who created this ARG. The sheer amount of coordination, creativity, planning, and logistics involved in pulling off something so complex and in-depth is staggering. Then again, with a monster such as Microsoft possibly hiding 'behind the curtain', theoretically anything's possible.
Throughout it all, there were ups and downs - the Puppetmasters (PMs) had us running around, planning, writing, recording, thinking, joking, and most of all - debating, discussing, learning... as pieces of information were implemented into the hive mind, people were free to speculate, guess, and offer opinions. People were free to disagree, criticize, and mold and shape all the collective thoughts into one. There were very difficult times - some people would take comments or disagreements personally, some had blurred the lines between the game and real life, and some simply ruined the game for hordes of people by considering it a big joke. But through it all, the massive amounts of respect and friendship gained through this experience, is something most beekeepers may never forget.
In the world of ARGs, ilovebees has definitely set a precedent. The only other significant ARG to have occurred before this, was one lovingly called "The Beast". This was an ARG I didn't happen to get hooked into, and to be honest, I never heard about it until ilovebees showed its face. But The Beast was an ARG planned as an advertising / teaser / entertainment / murder mystery ARG that would eventually lead up to the release of the movie A.I. - Artificial Intelligence. Just as The Beast was not a mass media release (only a small fraction of the population had even heard about it), ilovebees also was never intended to become an advertising campaign on the scale of, say, a Superbowl halftime commercial. And yet, with the enormous popularity of the video game Halo from Bungie, and a very quick flash of www.ilovebees.com on a video game trailer shown in select theatres, a niche crowd was suddenly drawn in.
The ARG enthusiasts were drawn in by a genuine mystery - a package of honey with the letters of ILOVEBEES mixed within - leading to the website. Halo fans were drawn in by a mysterious website flash at the end of a game trailer. In the end, together they joined so there was a perfect mix of puzzle solvers, and knowledgable Halo fans to fill in some story gaps. A very well executed 'rabbithole', so to speak. And thus started the ilovebees phenomenon.
Within the story I've compiled, there's only a smattering of fictional writing. I've included any text various other information that was compiled and recorded from the game, in order to provide a fictional representation of the story, which ultimately leads straight into the Halo 2 plotline. Having reviewed documentation about The Beast, and seeing how complex and convoluted the reviews and compilations were for it, as well as ilovebees, I simply felt that people wanting to know the story of ilovebees - a story that adds much depth and quality (if more can indeed be added!) to the 'Haloverse' (Halo universe) - should be able to come to one location, and just like reading a novel, be able to read through ilovebees and be greater drawn into the Halo 2 game, and whatever future stories may arise from the depths of Bungie mythology...
Be sure to take a scan of the Credits page, and truly see how wide an effect this ARG had on the online community. See how many people were involved, how many people offered expertise, programs, discussion forums, and much more. Without the help of so many people out in the online community, this game could not have existed in the form that it did, and this fictional writing you're about to read wouldn't have come to fruition. I cannot take credit for the intelligent writing this game has provide, the depth of plot, the ingenuity and creativity found within the ilovebees events. If you enjoy this story, I emplore you to first thank the Puppetmasters (whoever they may be) for their genius writing. All I'm doing here, is compiling it and filling in any gaps - which means that anything I wrote is not official, it is simply a fan-made fiction. The original writing within these chapters is NOT to be taken as official Haloverse content, if any is written that way.
Here is a quick guide to reading this story...
Any text within a white box
Such as thisIs strictly taken from in-game material, and is not original writing of my own. You'll find that the majority of this story is in-game material. All credit should be given where credit is due.
Any text not within a white box, such as this preface, is my own writing. It is an original work except where referencing in-game material, such as characters, times and places. Any trademarks that exist remain property of the trademark owners (in this case, Bungie and Microsoft).
At a point in the story, audio is used to further the story, with amazing voice actors and technical content. The creators of this audio-story and actors within should be given heavy props for the work they've done. In the portions of the story that are transcriptions of this audio-story, the non-audio content is labelled as original, so as again not to confuse official ingame material with my own original writing. The script is entirely ingame, sound effects and other events are also entirely in-game, but any narration used is original text - not official, and not in-game.
If at some point, Bungie decides to release the events of ilovebees in an official form, such as an audio CD, or a DVD, or even a novel, this story MUST then be considered nothing but a fan fiction. Until that time, however, my hope is that this story will help people experience the story and events that lead up to the Halo 2 video game.
Ilovebees is much more than just a science fiction drama. Ilovebees is an exploration of our humanity, of the consequences of actions, choices of morality and ethics, loyalty, love. Taken to the brink of destruction, of death, what choices would you make? What sacrifices would you consider worth making, when faced with dire circumstances? The lesser of two evils? Is the 'greater good' indeed more important than one's life, than one's very soul? What is it that truly makes us human? You may think I'm exaggerating with these descriptions, but if you had been a part of the ilovebees journey, and the discussions and topic explorations that occurred within the community, you'd know that the questions posed throughout this story truly make you think about things you may never have considered before.
From a fellow beekeeper...
And now, you may...
Begin the story -- Chapter 1 >>