Star Trek ARG Report 8: Romulans in Tokyo, Berlin, and Madrid…

Over the weekend there has been a lot of activity with the Star Trek ARG. There are Romulans popping up all around the world and new clues coming every day now. And once again TrekMovie puts it all together to bring you all the latest on this viral event around the new Star Trek movie.





NOTE: if you are new to the Star Trek ARG see ‘Quick review’ at the bottom of this article


April 24 Clue 1: Romulan spotted in Tokyo
After more recent Star Trek Dance Parties on didn’t yield new clues, community members were somewhat surprised late Friday to find a Romulan in Tokyo!

A Romulan spotted in Tokyo

This Romulan is probably the mysterious "O" (aka PHPChatUser5), who was previously identified as a woman, and who had told "Fe" and "Al" that she would have their locations by Saturday and to look for her in one of their "spots" (see 4/23 update chat transcript). Although "O" writes in English, she is in Tokyo, suggesting that she’s there to "handle" Sargash, the Japanese-speaking PHPChatUser1 who has gone crazy.

Community members used the coordinates from the sheet "O" is holding to confirm two drop locations this past weekend: the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin. The time on the sheet indicates 4:00pm, but ambiguous language in the chat made it unclear if the drop would occur on Saturday or Sunday.

April 25 Clue 2: "Fe" updates Twitter background, revealing new QR code
While community members mulled over PHPChatUser4’s new profile picture on Twitter, "Author of The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers" (thankfully, "ATVNPF" for short), noticed that he had also changed his Twitter background, apparently to all-black. However, someone noticed something faint in the middle of the image, and with a little Photoshop work, revealed yet another QR code!

Hidden code

"Raphael" was first to decode the message: PHOENIX:01-20. Like Apus, Chamaeleon, and Indus, Phoenix is also a constellation created by Petrus Plancius and first depicted by Johann Bayer. "Al" is now the only team member without an associated constellation.

April 26 Clue Smorgasbord: Strange Happenings in Berlin and Madrid
The folks at Unfiction were able to send people to the Berlin drop location on Saturday at the specified time. After waiting around for a bit and taking pictures, they decided that the drop was meant to be on Sunday. Here’s a report from the next day, courtesy of "Siedler" at Unfiction:

Now we are back from the ARG Event at the Tacheles.

When we arrived at the location, the place looked like the day before. There was nothing special at the area. During 15 min we tried to find some wlan hotspots and other bluetooth devices. So the search result was only our own mobiles.

Then our eyes saw a couple that had a little flyer in his hands. They showed him inconspicuously some times in our direction, but we couldn´t see the content from the flyer.

Suddenly in front of the Tacheles a woman tried to distributed the flyers to some persons. We went to her and got the flyers. She gave us the information that we have to go a little way around the block. There waited another woman with the flyers. She directed us in a backyard. There were a lot of graffitis. On the ground we found some pictures, which were done with a pattern. It was the same like on the flyer. We searched a long time in this area, but found only a messy doss [sic] from a hobo. As we wanted to go home a sprayer came and fabricated new graffitis with a pattern.

A young woman came also and looked for the romulaner [sic] too. Her interests was the “sleepingplace” of the hobo. Not till then we saw the green “blood” in the sleeping bag. We found the right place! We made a lot of pictures. Also this woman told me that her friend got one or two messages. We assume that the PMs tried to sent it with bluetooth to us but it doesn´t worked.So they have to gave the message on this way. She will send it with Email to me. Nearly this message sounds: “Someone tried to cower. He can do it no more, because they will find him. He will go away”. That was all and we went at home.

(Note: "PM" is ARG lingo for "Puppet Master": the people behind the game)


Sleeping bag with green Romulan blood and ‘Romulan Ale’ (Picture courtesy of ‘Amujan’")

Graffiti at Berlin location

People who called the phone number heard this otherworldly recording (thanks "LtPiper" for the recording):

The parties known as "Iron" and "Aluminium" are an extreme public threat. It is your duty to supply us with any information regarding their whereabouts. Failure to do so will result in every horror being inflicted upon you and your kind, and your planet will be destroyed. Save yourselves. Contain the threat.

(that’s "LtPiper" at the end of the recording!)

Meanwhile, in Madrid …

While it seemed like no one related to TrekMovie or Unfiction was able to make it for the Madrid event, Twitterer "colgado47" claims he was able to make it, and posted this cryptic video:

#startrekarg bluetooth madrid (?????)

There’s speculation that colgado47 is with the "Puppet Masters" and sent along the video when no one was able to make it to the museum in Madrid.

Back in Berlin …

"Siedler" received the message promised by the woman he mentioned in his update above (she, too, is suspected to be a member of the "Puppet Masters") via email … another video!

a still from the video

"Amujan" translates the text in the video as:

Kaleh, i’m sick and tired of having to live outside. I’m sleeping in the vivcinity of the position, where you received this message at. People are spraying graffiti and throwing away their old furniture here, it’s digusting. I won’t hide anymore. They’re onto me anyway. I can as well enjoy the time I have left to live.

"Raphael," a veritable ARG workhorse, pieced together snippets of QR code in the Madrid and Berlin videos, yielding 4,NOM4D5,C1U3:. Perhaps l33t for "a nomads clue?"

April 26th and 27th: "Alice" tweets about, Daoud’s idea

"Alice," almost certainly a "Puppet Master" posing as a player, mentioned the controversial site on Saturday in response to several tweets:

#startrekarg I still haven’t cracked , but I’m still trying!

By acknowleding the site, does Alice put to rest questions of whether or not it’s in-game? Who knows?

Alice, in a conversation with @tvdw, also suggests that we have all the pieces for solving the puzzle by pointing to an April 22nd comment by "Daoud" on TrekMovie:

@tvdw Looking over old ideas –

@tvdw looking at #112…this seems to be the right direction. So…surely we already have everything we need?

"Daoud’s" comment:

APUS has four letters. 01 + 4 = 05
CHAMAELEON has ten letters. 13 + 10 = 23

Analysis: what now?
Much of the community around this ARG is focusing their efforts on cracking by using the constellation: number combinations found in QR codes. However, there are still several open questions.

  • What is the meaning of the "232fr" at the Curbridge crash site?
  • Where is Ca?
  • Did O "handle" Si?
  • Are these Romulans here to aid us, or to destroy the planet?

Thank you!
I was generally offline this weekend, so I put this update together with much assistance from "Matt," "ATVNPF," and "Raphael." Thanks, guys!

Star Trek ARG – A quick review
The Star Trek Alternative Reality Game began a couple of weeks ago after some fans spotted URLs on the walls of ‘Star Trek Dance Party’ photos up at, these clues led to more sites, which in turn led to more clues. Here are the previous TrekMovie articles on the Star Trek ARG:

Also, all TrekMovie articles regarding this are now in a single Star Trek ARG Category.

What do you think? — and A NOTE before you comment
Before you post clues or speculation in the comments below, check the previous TrekMovie articles (including comments) to be sure they haven’t already been covered.

Star Trek ARG Chat & Forum
TM community member "Tom" hosts the very active ARG chat where much of the problem-solving is taking place. He has set up a forum for posting clues and speculation. It also includes links to the chat.

Other resources

Any new clues or theories? Let us know!
but again, be sure to check previous posts to make sure they haven’t been covered. If you really think you are on to something, send in a clue to tips [at]
trekmovie [dot] com. However, please keep tips to new (at least semi) verified clues, and not just speculation, that is what the comments are for.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
April 27, 2009 1:00 pm


April 27, 2009 1:00 pm

My brain hurts.

April 27, 2009 1:03 pm

I think these types of ad campaigns are targeted at a different crowd than me. And ones with a lot more time.

April 27, 2009 1:03 pm

Bored now

April 27, 2009 1:04 pm

Hope no one gets hurt.

Sci-Fi Bri
April 27, 2009 1:06 pm

coudln’t be worse than the Aqua Teen Hunger Squad “ARG” where they had the boston police sue them…

April 27, 2009 1:10 pm

i hat this “alias-lost-star-trek-crossover” thing! stop it!

April 27, 2009 1:13 pm

Thanks very much for a GREAT ARG review! This helps to put a lot of things into ‘mental pidgeon-holes’ for me and make the whole business a lot clearer…

Nice work — all!

Gary Seven
April 27, 2009 1:13 pm

What a collossal waste of time and energy.

Just go enjoy the damn movie and appreciate that Trek is once again on the front burner of pop culture!

April 27, 2009 1:13 pm

If you hate it, why do you even bother to read these articles?

Cobalt 1365
April 27, 2009 1:14 pm

How tragic would it be if no one picked up on the ARG and all those people dedicating time to graffiti, twittering, making websites etc all went without notice?

By the way, is this still in the realm of Marketing or just killing time until the movie comes out?

April 27, 2009 1:16 pm


Author of The Vulcan Neck PInch for Fathers
April 27, 2009 1:17 pm

Big stuff, guys. I just got an email from a That Gruber in response to an email I sent to “” It says:

“For your own safety, send us all information you have on these rogues. They want to destroy your planet, and we are here to help you stop them. We know these traitors all too well and can figure out what their plans are if you send us any of their belongings or any information you intercepted. We have their coded key from Berlin-Madrid but if we are to access the data it hides, you must send us the combined access-point quad. If we do not get to this data first, the rogues could unleash destruction unlike anything you can imagine. We have no time, if you want to save your world, tell us now what we need to know. ”


Author of The Vulcan Neck PInch for Fathers
April 27, 2009 1:18 pm

Dangit, the email was from “Thad Gruber,” not “that” gruber. Sorry. :0)

April 27, 2009 1:19 pm

I think that containthetreat is most likely the enemy here. We should be very circumspect in our dealings with them.

April 27, 2009 1:19 pm

I have to say, this has been one of the more disappointing ARG’s. Although admittedly it is far harder to do a ST ARG then it is, say, Batman or LOST (two ARGs which were able to hold my interest).

Really, the only time ST could have had a ARG working would have been the Voyage Home, for obvious reasons.

April 27, 2009 1:19 pm

Contain the threat, not contain the treat. Considerable difference there…

Sci-Fi Bri
April 27, 2009 1:22 pm

in other news:

the star trek end credits music is now on youtube. it sounds great to me.

April 27, 2009 1:23 pm

Okay, I give up.

April 27, 2009 1:24 pm

I just don’t get this. Maybe it’s because we (in the South) don’t live in basements, and actually get out once and a while. . . . .

April 27, 2009 1:26 pm

You know what would be hilarious? If Paramount has nothing to do with this at all.

The L0nely G0d
April 27, 2009 1:28 pm

“What a collossal waste of time and energy.

Just go enjoy the damn movie and appreciate that Trek is once again on the front burner of pop culture!”

Does the idea of enjoying puzzles elude you? Does the idea that a basic plot might be interesting really strike you as so weird?

Honestly, just stfu.

April 27, 2009 1:30 pm

Man, if all the people commenting “what a waste of time” would use the time they spent reading the posts helping the community to solve the puzzle, this ARG would be over! Seriously, people, if this stuff isn’t for you, then don’t read it! Some of us LOVE a good mystery and are having a blast!

April 27, 2009 1:30 pm

I got the same email but with one sentence more.

“For your own safety, send us all information you have on these rogues. They want to destroy your planet, and we are here to help you stop them. We know these traitors all too well and can figure out what their plans are if you send us any of their belongings or any information you intercepted. We have their coded key from Berlin-Madrid but if we are to access the data it hides, you must send us the combined access-point quad. If we do not get to this data first, the rogues could unleash destruction unlike anything you can imagine. We have no time, if you want to save your world, tell us now what we need to know.

Do you know how this connects to the quad?”

April 27, 2009 1:32 pm

Oh yea, Romulan Ale in water bottles. Yeaaaaa, whatever. This is the lamest ARG ever!

April 27, 2009 1:36 pm

Apparently everyone got the same email from “containthethreat.” They must have been waiting for a new update from trekmovie to send it!
2 pictures from the museum in Madrid were attached:


April 27, 2009 1:42 pm

The Romulan in the picture means probably:

01-01 (perhaps it could also be 01-51)


You must rotate the picture to see U,A and P.

April 27, 2009 1:42 pm

The email I received is identical.

BUT, they included two .jpg files. Anyone else get those?

April 27, 2009 1:45 pm

@28 – see #26

April 27, 2009 1:45 pm

Yes, I got them. Links:

Romulan writing? And I presume this is from the location in Madrid.

April 27, 2009 1:47 pm


I haven’t been keeping up with it that much, but on that same note there are some of us that are enjoying the updates and where the story is going. Keep at ‘er!

April 27, 2009 1:49 pm

Sorry, I made a mistake in 27.

The D is a S!
So APUS is correct.

April 27, 2009 1:52 pm

I’m in madrid.

Is there any clue that suggests I should send a friend somewhere at any specific moment in time?

April 27, 2009 1:54 pm

Well, good. I’m glad we all are seeing the same pictures now.

I read the Madrid painted image as follows, close to what you have Mel.

If you start at the right, it’s an A rotated 90° to the right
P is upside down.
U is rotated 90° to the left
and it’s an *S* upside down.

It spells APUS going around in a clock face with A to the right.
The numbers in the upper left are 01-05

This repeats the APUS:01-05 clue. Why?

April 27, 2009 1:58 pm

Apparently the “QUAD” is a combination of

I believe that somehow Indus and Phoenix are incorrect and should have been:
INDUS:01-06 (5 letters in INDUS, 01+5=6)
PHOENIX:13-20 (7 letters in PHOENIX, 13+7=20)

If Alice is indicating somehow my “previous observation” had merit, that’s the only way I can find to make it relevant. (I was considering things like modulo 12 division… and my head hurts now!)

April 27, 2009 2:03 pm


April 27, 2009 2:03 pm

Has someone tried to connect those Constellations (or the exact points in it, those Numbers should mean additional coordinates for a certain star in that constellation)?

Maybe if we draw lines from every point to a middle we end up at another star, maybe the coordinates of Romulus or Hobus.

Sybok's Secret Brother
April 27, 2009 2:04 pm

This is like… hard or something… huh huh huh

April 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Thanks Daoud. Wish you could join the chat, but I remember you said that it wasn’t possible.

Brilliant thinking as always, and hey. Being called out by one of the PMs is a pretty cool thing!

April 27, 2009 2:07 pm

@37 – Finding the mid point of these constellations is an excellent idea.

April 27, 2009 2:12 pm

This is going way too far. I’m just going to stop following this until a solution is found.

Live long and prosper.

The Wild Man of Borneo
April 27, 2009 2:16 pm

As I said a billion times before when this started…

what’s the point?

April 27, 2009 2:16 pm

@42 Simply said? Fun!

April 27, 2009 2:21 pm

@42 – Thanks for your ongoing desire to remind us of your feelings.

April 27, 2009 2:21 pm

After the numbers of the Romulan writing, it seems like there is a corner symbol. So I guess that means, that the upper left corner on has the coordinate 01-01.

April 27, 2009 2:25 pm

the source of the flash application (390e9ad1a5af0a2f8e370020fb3a833c.swf) on is a md5 hash, its original string is “456793” (only another random number?)

DS9 Rocks
April 27, 2009 2:36 pm

I assume someone said this already, but isn’t the diagram on johnbayer just a key, and you have to check the right combination of squares and then click the access square that appears on the bottom right (under the large grid) after you start clicking on the grid… and presumably that reveals something? and, again presumably, the combination of squares is described by the constellation numbers (either directly, so, 13-23 is a coordinate on the grid, or in some convoluted way)? Then, it would appear all we need is the last combination of numbers for Ai.

DS9 Rocks
April 27, 2009 2:39 pm

if we can’t the combo–can someone write a code to crack this site?

DS9 Rocks
April 27, 2009 2:39 pm

[sic] can’t *get* the combo…

April 27, 2009 2:40 pm

@46 – Kai3k – probably not random. Nice find. :)