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RichKiller

Revisiting the Black ops numbers

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The numbers mason, what do they mean?
Not everyone knows the number sequences Mason hears are actual messages that can be decoded.
From the Jason Blundell lightning round (4:13): 

 

Q: Are there any codes or ciphers that we are yet to find in Black ops 1?
A: Yes

One of the main goals of this thread is to showcase new number sequences and decoded messages that do not exist in the original work of BigDah and thecoldthunder or any other online source I could find, such as NGT's video on the topic:


For those who want a full explanation of how the number sequences, also referred to as the ascension codes, can find it in the sources above.
I bring the necessary details here: 
To decode a number sequence, one needs a key, which could be any phrase from a book by JFK named "Profiles in Courage" (then decode the number sequence as a cipher known as One-Time-Pad). 
The length of the key should be in the same length of the message. 

Before diving into the messages, I want to thank @RadZakpak who helped in scanning the game for new sequences, and this post wouldn't have been possible without him. Most gameplay recordings here are due to him.

The first sequence appears in the last mission, Redemption, just before confronting Dragovich (around 14:40 in the video): 

 

Sequence: 8 12 11 20 3 5 16 6 17 14 1 12 19 1 0 6 12 16 21 24 8 25 22 1 17 19 4 22 5 17 20 24 3 17 7 7 21 14 15 21 22 5 16 7 22 12 22 22 23 24 22 12 14 1 4 22 17 17 1 23 5
Converting to text: IMLUDFQGROBMTBAGMQVYIZWBRTEWFRUYDRHHVOPVWFQHWMWWXYWMOBEWRRBXF
Key: MAJORITYWASCONSTITUTIONALLYREQUIREDTOACCOMPLISHTHEIRMAJORAMB [...Majority was constitutionally required to accomplish their major ambition...]
Plaintext: ALL POINTS BURN NOTICE PRIORITY ONE EVADE CAPTURE SLEEPERS EXPENDABLE
unknown.png

 

The message is broadcasted to all points, even those that are not sleeper agents. 
Since the Americans have found the broadcast station, the full plan of Dragovich cannot be executed and he so
tells the non sleepers "Born Notice", and that priority number one is to avoid getting captured by the Americans.
The sleepers are expandable and are no longer relevant.

The second sequence appears in the mission USDD, just before Mason meets JFK for the first time (4:20 in the video): 

 

Sequence: 19 9 6 6 7 11 3 10 17 7 13 10 13 8 11
Converting to text: TJGGHLDKRHNKNIL
Key: ESSEDHARDONTHES [...Houston pressed hard on these grounds....]
Plaintext: Proceed To Target

unknown.png


The phrase "Proceed to target" also appears in the mission revelations. Mason says it during his breakdown, as well as saying "Oswald compromised", another code which has previously been decoded and refers to the JFK assassination (3:35 in the video). 


I find this one quite interesting: During the USSD mission, Mason had the perfect opportunity to kill JFK.
During the last mission, Dragovich says to mason- "You should have been my finest agent, it would all have been so much simpler",
possibly referring to Mason not finishing the job when he had the opportunity.
In USDD, mason also hears sequences with information on entry passwords in the pentagon (Pentagon one Prospero, Pentagon two Ariel, Pentagon three Sycorax).
This can be further confirmed by one of the mails in the black ops terminal:
 

Harris confirms that the Pentagon has been compromised. He's procured transmission fragments, don't ask how. Here they are.

Echelon 2 1 12 24 4 8 20 1 5 2 18 16 6 21 14 21 19 21 9 1 (Decodes to: Pentagon one prospero)

Echelon 9 8 11 17 1 17 7 18 24 1 0 19 18 5 1 11 15 (Decodes to: Pentagon two ariel)

Echelon 8 8 18 16 19 24 25 21 17 21 14 17 15 15 22 11 8 18 5 5 12 (Decodes to: Pentagon three Sycorax)


CUTZHEXZKMWMQUMTQJMRKNTPATSUJZZYZGIMWZETMKNWMEWZFHCGYZVMUXZSHWM (We think Echelon means information)

VMWZQTMCHTZVZCGGZETEUCGTZIZRGQJZJWMRTKMSHWNZYNGIZJMRGZQWMFULZLMVZJNQT (We are sure Ascension means command)


It is not clear whether Mason hears the sequences in retrospective during the interrogation- meaning "Proceed to Target" has been one of the commands in the assassination day,
or whether there were broadcasts directly to the Pentagon, meaning Mason was commanded to kill JFK. More on that later. 


The third message appears in the mission "Crash site", when Mason and the team reach the crashed helicopter.
 

 

Sequence: 7 2 11 11 23 8 17 11 14 18 25 13 15 24 11 2 10 16 15 17 17 5 13 8 4 3 9 11
Converting to text: [H]CLLXIRLOSZNPYLCKQPRRFNIEDJL
Key: [E] ALREADYBEENDESCRIBEDEVENIFI [...have already been described. Even if I...]
Plaintext: CAUTION NOVA MUTATION OBSERVED

 

unknown.png



We believe this message is referring to Dragovich and Kravchenko experimenting with Nova 6 on villagers,
as we know from Kravchenko's recordings from the mission Victor Charlie and Intel from Crash Site. 

I now want to discuss on how the ciphers were solved. While we do have methods to solve Ascension codes, 
there has been an interesting aiding source this time. When the game came out, it has become apparent that all the dialog of black ops 1 appears in the PC files of
non English versions, probably as means to translate the game from English. In there, players have been able to find the following:

MASON: Ascension. Mason. Prepare down target Kennedy. John Fitzgerald. Priority supersedes all previous instruction.
MASON: Ascension. Mason. Proceed to target. Await final coordinates.
MASON: Echelon. Oswald, compromised. Ascension. Mason. Down assigned target.
MASON: Echelon. Scheduled Nova deployment jeopardized. CIA breach.
MASON: Ascension. All points. Down target Clarke. Priority one. Await final coordinates.
MASON: Ascension. All points. Phase two.
MASON: Ascension. All points. Phase three.

MASON: Ascension. All points. Burn notice. Priority evade capture. Sleepers expendable.
MASON: Echelon. Nova deployment signal imminent.
MASON: Ascension. Mason. Resume directive programming. Respond.
MASON: Echelon. Pentagon. One. Prospero.
MASON: Echelon. Pentagon. Two. Ariel.
MASON: Echelon. Pentagon. Three. Sycorax.

MASON: Echelon. Caution. Nova mutation observed. Subjects exhibit advanced necrosis hours before mortality.
MASON: Echelon. Rogue sleeper. Mason. Programming corrupted. Dragovich down. Pentagon sleeper activated.
CIA sleeper activated. Ascension. All points. Down target Mason. Priority supersedes all previous instruction.

MASON: Ascension. Mason. Location. Texas School Book Depository. 6th Floor. 6.5MM Carcano Rifle. Dallas. Dealey Plaza. 11.22.

 

Green marks messages that have appeared (fully or partially) in new or old number sequences which we have decoded.
Red marks messages that have not been found, either because we haven't found them yet, or because they do not appear in-game. 

This source has been the only place where I could find references to the new decoded messages. The solutions in this thread further confirm the validation of the file sources. 
Given the plaintext for a One-Time-Pad cipher behind a message, we can verify it is correct as long as the key is not arbitrary or random (i.e the key has some meaning we can point out).
With the typical Ascension code, this is indeed the case, and as such the decoding process has been quite simple.

One of the more interesting messages here is the last unfound dialog message. It suggests there is a sleeper agent in the pentagon and the CIA. 
It is quite a weird one because there isn't supposed to be an in-game gap for the message to appear, since taking Dragovich down is the last thing you do in the campaign. 
However this lines up with the Pentagon being breached. I think this message opens up a door for some interesting discussion. 

Last but not least, I would like to focus on one number sequence for a very specific reason: It seems like it hasn't been solved yet. 
The sequence is as follows: 
9 19 18 4 6 21 17 14 9 19 8 24 17 24 5 13 11 20 15 21 24 11 9 12 8 20 21 10 16 23 4 22 21 4 0 14

This sequence appears all over the campagin, usually with Reznov is around.
Examples would be the final moments of the escape from Vorkuta and Rebirth island.
It also appears as an one of the objectives in the revelations mission.

Diving into the internet, I could not find any source that has solved the sequence. In case it was solved, please share. 
The question is why people haven't realized that the sequence is unsolved. 
I believe this is because one of the more popular sources on that topic said it was solved. Here I'm referring to NGT's video (17:32 in the video):
 


NGT did great job with the video, but he made a mistake, as he presented the same key and answer of the next message in the video (18:57 in the video).
Beyond simple checks that dis-confirm this section of the video, the main source of NGT's video, the post by BigDah, does not address this sequence as well. 

Attempts to decode the sequence have so far failed, including testing unused dialog as before. Here I want to provide a speculation to what could possibly be the answer for the sequence.

My speculation is that the decoded message for this sequence is "Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner, All must die."
This phrase has the exact length as the number sequence. It repeats itself in the campaign many times and is associated with Reznov's sabotage of the brainwashing. 
This lines up with Reznov usually being around the sequence appears. Furthermore, the phrase is not prefixed by "Ascension" or "Echelon", which would up with the sequence being installed
in Mason by Reznov and not broadcasted. It would also explain why the answer seemingly doesn't show up in the unused dialog. I think that if this is indeed the message, it would be very exciting. 

There is one problem: As said before, one can verify that a certain message is the answer, as long as the key is not arbitrary or random. 
However the key obtained from such test with the message "Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner, All must die." gives a key without any recognized meaning:
GCSYSAJMCJRYWWYJYKBDFHBZEDVZFLKECBSK

I see a few options regards this number sequence:
1. This sequence is an ordinary ascension code (possibly with a typo in the key as in some other sequences)
2. This is not an ascension code / One-time-Pad cipher. 
3. The answer is "Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner, All must die", and the key has some meaning we don't know about yet.
4. The answer is "Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner, All must die" and Treyarch have decided to use an arbitrary/random key.

In the case of option 4, guessing the message as done is the best that we can do.
(It is worth saying that using One-Time-Pad with a uniformly chosen key that is used once provides a perfect security that cannot be cracked, mathematically and practically). 

Regards option 3, there seems to be two audio files under the names of "drag_krav_stein_flash_lr.wav", and "drag_krav_stein_flash_lsrs.wav", which are attached below:
drag_krav_stein_flash_lr.wav
drag_krav_stein_flash_lsrs.wav
Perhaps the answers lie in there.


Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or insights feel free to comment below.
I would also like to hear what do you think of the messages. Richkiller out. 

 

Edited by RichKiller

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This is amazing Richkiller! Big brains to you!

 

I never really understood the Ascension sequences, but thanks to you I kinda think I do now :) Do you have any idea how anyone came up with the key of 'Profiles in Courage'?

2 hours ago, RichKiller said:

ALL POINTS BURN NOTICE PRIORITY ONE EVADE CAPTURE SLEEPERS EXPENDABLE

Does this mean the sleeper agents are still out there? Considering this was broadcasted during the final moments of the Campaign, we don't really know what happened after Drakovich was killed. Would there still be a potential Nova-6 hazard out there during the time between BO1 and BO2?

 

Also why would Mason say 'Oswald compromised'? How does he know about him? We also still got this conversation:

Quote

Alex Mason:
DRAGOVICH! It IS simple. I'm gonna kill you! You tried to fuck with my mind! You failed!

Nikita Dragovich:
You don't know anything!

Alex Mason:
You tried to turn me against my own! You tried to make me kill my own president!

Nikita Dragovich:
[smirks menacingly] Tried?

Good notice on the unsolved sequence. How you say it, it seems almost certain that it indeed is sneaky Reznov's programmed message. I wonder why that message is encountered at those moments, when Mason thinks he saw Reznow. Now I am one of the believers that Reznow survived Vorkuta, but it would be impossible to be actually present at all those locations Mason sees him, so if we consider this as an illusion, why would it correspond with the moments the sequence is there? How is that sequence transmitted anyway, or is it connected with the part of Mason's brain that has memories of Reznov?

 

Notice also how there are no numbers during Mason's encounter with Reznov during the Soviet-Afghanistan war in Black Ops II. If the sequence truly is 'Dragovich. Kravchenko. Steiner. All must die.', this could explain why, as Kravchenko, the last surviving person of the trinity, has just been killed. Mission completed, no more numbers.

 

Again, awesome work and to Rad too

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48 minutes ago, anonymous said:

Also why would Mason say 'Oswald compromised'? How does he know about him? We also still got this conversation:

Alex Mason was in Dallas the day of the assassination. He was definitely involved in the plot, if not the one to pull the trigger, rather than Oswald. Oswald may have been one of the sleeper agents, or at the very least someone working for Dragovich.

 

Also worth noting it is later revealed in Black Ops, or at least highly suspected that Mason was allowed to escape Vorkuta in order to be sent back to the US and act as a sleeper agent. This brings into question why Reznov managed to escape as well, and that may be because he knew Mason would be allowed to escape, and so he added his own programming to Mason as well as sticking very close to him the entire time, knowing he was meant to escape. From that point, it seems like his orders to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner are triggered in times of stress and when he sees any of the trio. Every time that Reznov appears in Black Ops after Vorkuta, it is when Mason is potentially under threat of death, at which point Reznov swoops in to save the day. In reality, it is Mason's instinct kicking in to pull him out. Reznov helps him out of a crashed helicopter, when he is walking through the rat tunnels towards Kravchenko's underground lab, when he arrives to kill Kravchenko, when he arrives to kill Steiner, and in BO2 after being left to die in the desert.

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1 hour ago, anonymous said:

Now I am one of the believers that Reznow survived Vorkuta, but it would be impossible to be actually present at all those locations Mason sees him, so if we consider this as an illusion, why would it correspond with the moments the sequence is there?

 

55 minutes ago, RadZakpak said:

Every time that Reznov appears in Black Ops after Vorkuta, it is when Mason is potentially under threat of death, at which point Reznov swoops in to save the day

I also believe Reznov survived: 
In the mission Revelations, Reznov tells Mason during what seems to be a part of the programming: "We are brothers Mason, we are the same". That explains many of the illusions where Reznov is involved.
Since there is a number sequence going on in the last moments to Vorkuta (I must say, the gap Mason manages to jump to the train is unrealistic), it's not clear how truthful is that scene.
Mason is really tied to Reznov, possibly by the programming alone, and when Reznov didn't escape with him, he got stressed.

There are two more reasons as to why Reznov possibly survived.
The first reason is the code from the Mission briefing:
"Reznov is dead, or is he dead, there was no body, is he who he says he is?"

The second reason is the story John Trent from the black ops terminal. I won't go over all the details, but in a nutshell, the guy named John Trent warns JFK from the assassination one day eariler.
The guy acts as if he is Reznov and he sends a few more messages to Husdon: https://callofduty.fandom.com/wiki/Jhudson

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1 hour ago, RichKiller said:

There are two more reasons as to why Reznov possibly survived.
The first reason is the code from the Mission briefing:
"Reznov is dead, or is he dead, there was no body, is he who he says he is?"

The second reason is the story John Trent from the black ops terminal. I won't go over all the details, but in a nutshell, the guy named John Trent warns JFK from the assassination one day eariler.
The guy acts as if he is Reznov and he sends a few more messages to Husdon: https://callofduty.fandom.com/wiki/Jhudson

Hang on, let's say Reznov survived (though we dont have absolute confirming evidence for this), did he, the Red Army sergeant who fought on the streets of Berlin, really met Mason?

 

Maybe Reznov is merely the manifestation of Mason's programming, having a human skin to look more personal. How could a WW2 veteran like him have the knowledge to manipulate braincontrol? 

 

I believe somewhere we heard that Reznov was the first archetype, so clearly the CIA had full knowledge of his appearance etc. Combining this with this John Trent CIA guy who might be Reznov makes me wonder...did Reznov ever got out of Project Nova? Perhaps all of our encounters with him post-WaW was a copy of him inplanted in Masons mind?

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Just now, anonymous said:

Hang on, let's say Reznov survived (though we dont have absolute confirming evidence for this), did he, the Red Army sergeant who fought on the streets of Berlin, really met Mason?

 

Maybe Reznov is merely the manifestation of Mason's programming, having a human skin to look more personal. How could a WW2 veteran like him have the knowledge to manipulate braincontrol? 

 

I believe somewhere we heard that Reznov was the first archetype, so clearly the CIA had full knowledge of his appearance etc. Combining this with this John Trent CIA guy who might be Reznov makes me wonder...did Reznov ever got out of Project Nova? Perhaps all of our encounters with him post-WaW was a copy of him inplanted in Masons mind?

That's actually an interesting idea. Like I said earlier, evidence shows that Mason was ALLOWED to escape Vorkuta to become a sleeper agent, but why would they allow Reznov to get as far as he did as well, and how did he eventually actually escape? Perhaps he did brainwash Mason, knowing that he would never escape Vorkuta, making Mason believe that Reznov got out with him when in reality he died.

 

However, let's say that he did die in 1945. Why would orders be put in by Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner?

 

I am still of the belief that he was real in Vorkuta, and he did make it out alive because of the in-game hints that the Reznov after Vorkuta is fake. These hints are:

 

- No other characters acknowledge him being around

 

- You can shoot at him all you want and the mission will not fail. He won't even acknowledge it.

 

In Vorkuta characters acknowledge him and shooting him will cause you to fail. HOWEVER, there is a section of the mission where you go on a rampage with the death machine unlocked by Reznov, before getting stunned with tear gas. The mission then flashes forwards to Mason in a garage with Reznov with two perfectly functional motorcycles to escape on. This Reznov, I believe is fake. You can't shoot him in this section as your weapon is lowered, and there are no other characters around to acknowledge him. He simply instructs you to get on the motorcycle and escape with him.

 

I would like to propose that after getting tear-gassed, the men who ran the camp put Mason in the garage, giving him a chance to escape just as was planned. I don't believe they would incite a riot that kills hundreds of their own men just to let him out, but Reznov accelerated their plan to let Mason go. Once he was knocked out, and Reznov was either shot or ran away, they gave him the opportunity to make a believable mistake. This is where Mason sees his first vision of Reznov, who he believes somehow dragged him through the tear gas surrounded by dozens of guards into an empty garage. Seems a little too convenient, eh?

 

For reference, this is the section after getting hit with the tear gas:

 

 

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8 hours ago, RadZakpak said:

This is where Mason sees his first vision of Reznov, who he believes somehow dragged him through the tear gas surrounded by dozens of guards into an empty garage. Seems a little too convenient, eh?

Looking at the video, this really is too convenient. It's also so weird that the whole time there is such a large mob trying to escape, and after the teargas we got solely Mason and Reznov. 

 

So considering that Mason did actually met Reznov and got familiar with his stories of Nova-6, how would Reznov have been inplanted in Mason's brain? 

11 hours ago, RadZakpak said:

From that point, it seems like his orders to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner are triggered in times of stress and when he sees any of the trio.

So maybe Reznov's appearance is a projection of Mason's mind, but it is linked to 'Dragovich, Kravchenko. Steiner. All must die' because he thinks it was Reznov who asked him this. What do you think? Was it Reznov who deciphered how to brainwash someone, and manipulated Mason? Or was it the CIA, somehow?

 

@RichKiller might already be translated, but I found this Echelon sequence in jhudson: Echelon 5 21 0 8 18 15 14 7 21 16 23 9 14 23 0 6 18 4. Got any idea what it means? It is part of the following messege of John Trent. The other mysterious John Trent messages are seen beneath. (btw Evelyn Cross is the woman who a letter to JFK a few days before his death, telling about a final offer, his last chance and that her organization has people everywhere.

Quote

Echelon 5 21 0 8 18 15 14 7 21 16 23 9 14 23 0 6 18 4


Her name is Evelyn Cross. The photo is for your eyes only. This will be my last letter for quite some time. When the time comes, you will know what to do.

Quote

 

John Trent: You don't know me, but I know Alex Mason. You will learn to trust me. Everything changes on Friday.

Quote

John Trent: It was by the hand of Nikita Dragovich. This is just the beginning. They are everywhere.


Start at Vorkuta. Two escaped the breakout. You know one of them. The other one just died.

Quote

John Trent: Please tell Mason one last thing. This time it's freedom for both of us.

Qua knowledge and what he says, he really sounds like he could be Reznov. 

  • "You don't know me, but I know Mason"
  • "It was by the hand of Nikita Dragovich"
  • "Start at Vorkuta. Two escaped the breakout. You know one of them. The other one just died"
  • "This time it's freedom for both of us"

The only thing that buggers me is that his way of writing appears very different to Reznov. He also refers to JFK's assasination before it happened, so how could Reznov know? Lastly, we've got that 'Two escaped Vorkuta, the other one just died' quote that grabs me. I assume Reznov did escape, but without Mason as that scene might be Mason's brain fucking with him due to the stress. But according to this message, Reznov did escape. And then we got Reznov being the first archetype, assuming that the CIA somehow and somewhere got their hands on him. And he just died

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47 minutes ago, anonymous said:

Echelon 5 21 0 8 18 15 14 7 21 16 23 9 14 23 0 6 18 4. Got any idea what it means?

This message translates to: Oswald Compromised.

Notice that the famous phrase "Everything you know is wrong" is the title of the first mail from Trent to Husdon.

There is also the story of Evelyn Cross (in the picture):
Evel

Cross sends a mail to JFK saying:

"He won't ask you again and I know this was his final offer. Please reconsider before we leave Berlin or put your life in danger.

Our people are everywhere - this time you cannot win. Give him what he wants before it's too late."

Another mail from Weaver to Hudson says: "We have confirmed he met with Evelyn Cross in Berlin the day of the speech".

Also, if Mason can disappear for over a decade, then so can Reznov. Clearly there is a story here to be told, and perhaps this is not a coincidence that both of them disappeared.
Clearly there is a story here to be told, and hopefully we will see something about it in the future.

 

 

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1 hour ago, PINNAZ said:

Mad stuff @RichKiller

Are all keys found in the JFK book?

Yes, good question.
Majority was constitutionally required to accomplish their major ambition.
The book has a few versions and so I use the online one: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.460987/page/n1/mode/2up

"Majority was constitutionally required to accomplish their major ambition"- Page 148
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.460987/page/n143/mode/2up

"Houston pressed hard on these grounds"-Page 132
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.460987/page/n127/mode/2up

"have already been described. Even if I"- Page 34 
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.460987/page/n29/mode/2up
 

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