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By passing the hardline locations to The Watchmaker via email and eventually getting a response, the players were able to assemble all the fragments of messages that were redirected from hardline to hardline to protect Mr. X’s identity. Through the content of the reassembled messages, it was clear that Mr. X was trying to use stolen code from The Watchmaker, along with some code artifacts in the possession of several of the city’s collectors, to construct a virus that would disable the Exile kingpin Mr. Black. To complete his plan, Mr. X traded Hypatia the identity of the one who ruined her deal with The Chef (from one of her side missions) for some log files that he then traded to Bishop for a virus from a previous iteration of the Matrix. He negotiated with Mr. Black’s rival, Tick Tock, for information about Mr. Black’s update cycles with the system. Silver, who would later be featured in Rarebit’s storyline again for his knack for working with code, was then responsible for combining the virus, The Watchmaker’s timing code, and the data from Tick Tock, thus creating a virus capable of disabling the powerful Mr. Black.

The city map I used for personal reference in creating the puzzle.

From examining the path of the messages, it was clear that their common point of origin was Grisaille, Mr. Black’s ambitious “son”. Grisaille had the proper ambition and charm to persuade several of his siblings to support his plan, as well as the connections to get what he needed from the other powerful Exiles.

The complete reassembled messages are as follows:


Manssen SE: -749, -78: I have a business proposition for you, Mr. Bishop. I believe you have in

Bathory Row SE: -302, 201: your collection a rather virulent relic from a previous iteration of the

Mara S: 390, -214: Matrix. This particular piece of code was quite effective in

Tabor E: 943, 268: its ability to disrupt specific old programs. It has no use to you in its current

Sai Kung C: 393, -157: suspended condition. You give it to me and, in exchange, you get this record of

Shinjuku WC: -220, 324: the self-replicating system errors from the last iteration. Someone will be

Jurong C: -162, -196: stopping by to retrieve the item soon.

Akasaka W: -141, 95: -X


Mansenn NW: -845, 80: What if I told you I could take Black out of the picture for good? I know you’re

Lucero W: -734, -298: listening now. Don’t bother trying to trace this transmission; if

Mara W: -64, -71: you do, the deal is off. All you have to do is have a little chat with the

Tabor W: 531, 420: Auditor. I’m sure you can persuade him to give you Black’s

Chelsea SE: 430, -821: system update cycles if you can prove that Black was

Chelsea NE: -306, -503: responsible for that system resource leak that caused him

Lamar N: 350, 97: so much trouble. You do this for me and Black’s territory is yours.

Hampton Green SW: -206, -191: -X


Rogers C: -644, -579: I require your services. I have a disabled pathogenic code system that I need to be

Sobra NW: -551, -1102: reactivated and modified to alter a subject’s source code according to the specifications

Sobra SE: -178, -1416: of a certain fragment of operating code. I’ve already prepared the carrier proxy, I just

Dannah W: 104, -1104: need you to design the implant and install it, along with the delivery peripherals. It needs

Apollyon SE: 557, -1667: to be a data upload of a certain frequency. Not to worry, I already have all the necessary

Lemone C: 875, -1177: data for the design. In exchange, you’ll get your standard fee, plus, if it works, we’ll have

Zia S: 830, -667: some time left to use it on your dear rival.

Zia N: 773, -440: -X


Bathory W: -929, 407: I know who ruined your deal with the Chef and have the evidence to

Edgewater E: -1021, -1039: support it. If you want this information, you’ll have to offer some

Vauxton C: -1182, -578: of your own in exchange. I require transcripts of the self-replicating

Center Park N: -892, -291: systemic errors from several of the previous iterations of the Matrix as well

Park East C: -624, 159: as the status logs of the affected programs. If you can provide this

Hampton NC: -74, 178: information, you will not only have the identity of those involved, but a substantial

Lamar S: 134, -376: amount of $info as well. Shall we say, 200 million? Do this for me and it is yours.

Chelsea NC: 139, -626: -X

For the story’s finale, players learned of the date and time Grisaille planned to transport the virus and were able to ambush the overtly named ViralCarrier001 (played by Xeros of Les Enfants Terribles on Vector). As a hastily leveled 10 with few options for dev support and no spawn tools (not in those days), ViralCarrier001 was easily dispatched by Willibomb, a Zionist from the Morpheus’ Legacy faction.

Of course, I needed to wrap up loose ends and I was already eager to begin a new story project that would ambitiously span all three servers and involve a certain crazed clown. The players (surprisingly near 100 people) met with The Watchmaker in Debir Court to celebrate. However, when The Oracle came to thank the simple program and wish him goodbye, a few players realized what would come next. The Watchmaker had been damaged and subsequently acted outside the bounds of his mandate within the Matrix. While his intentions were good and he had ultimately done a good deed to preserve the balance of power within the simulation, he was still marked for deletion.

When Agent Harris arrived on the scene, the players showed a surprising amount of support for the Watchmaker, swearing and cursing the Agent and trying to fight him despite his unbreakable admin shield. In the end, The Watchmaker was deleted, Agent Harris leapt away, and a certain green-haired masked man came by later to pick up the pieces.

Oh, and while the Matrix Online forums still exist, you can read the Oracle’s follow-up post, complete with lots of screenshots.


  1. I didn’t understand the concluding part of your article, could you please explain it more?

    • Could you explain what confused you? I’ll do my best to elaborate.

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