The DVD that 42 Entertainment gave out at select events following the conclusion of the game.
"I've been thinking a lot about bees." — Durga
I Love Bees is an Alternate Reality Game created by 42 Entertainment to promote Halo 2. The game took place on www.ilovebees.com, and was in-universe an amateur beekeeper's personal website that had been taken over by artificial intelligences from the future. The plot took place in two timelines, one in the present year 2004 and the other simultaneously in 2552.The gist of the plot is that in 2552 an alien artifactsplits up the human AI Melissa into three parts. One part stays in 2552, has amnesia and is named Durga. The other two parts, The Operator and The Sleeping Princess, are sent back in time to the website I Love Bees. Also with the latter is a Trojan Horse AI sent by the alien enemy faction The Covenant as a spy. The Operator falsely believes The Sleeping Princess is the Trojan Horse, and tries to kill her. Participants in the ARG would communicate with The Operator and The Sleeping Princess to learn details of the plot, forming different factions for either character.Players allied with The Operator were required to go to certain payphones at certain times to answer calls from the character. Persons who answered the calls needed to show they were part of the game by answering basic questions (e.g. “What's my name?”), after which parts of an audio drama were made available on the site. Later calls were performed by a voice actor playing The Operator, with whom players engaged in role play.The audio drama consists of recordings taken by Durga in 2552, explaining what's going on in the future. Durga is adopted by a boy named Jersey, who realizes he has “God's own spyware” and uses her to spy on the hot girl down the hall, Jan. In doing so, it comes to light that her family is a lot more interesting than first apparent. Durga goes on to spy on several other people she finds interesting and eventually assembles them into her “crew”. She takes her crew to a military base to deactivate the alien artifact, which will potentially keep the Halo from activating, and the action causes the AI fragments to return to the future and merge back together into Melissa. Everyone lives happily ever... no, wait, then The Covenant invades Earth as Halo 2 begins.This is a heavily shortened summary. For the best breakdown of the game, see here; for just the audio drama, see here.
Kamal's line “People think time is a river that flows in one direction, but time is an ocean” references the line "Some say time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, but I have seen the face of time and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm" from the Prince in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Both characters were played by the same actor: Yuri Lowenthal.
In the original version of Rani's introduction, she would have scoffed at Sarah John's baby name choice of Dorothy Jane, an allusion to Rani's actress Olivia Burnette's role on The Torkelsons.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with. Melissa is simply badly damaged, but the Covenant spy program, Pious Flea, becomes more intelligent and active over the course of the story...while still keeping true to his original purpose.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Kamal's chatter plays a message from his mother in which she talks about his father's digestive trouble and warns him to watch his diet, in front of Kamal's love interest Sophia and roommate Hiroyuki.
Continuity Snarl: Considering that the ARG was originally not intended to be canon, retroactive examples of this trope were inevitable, with the biggest unsettled issue being whether there was actually a second class of SPARTAN-IIs or not.
Death Glare: Jan does this at Jersey after he makes a pervy comment.
Deconstruction: This was the first real example of this in the Halo Universe, taking a more personal approach, and looking at the Spartan programme, and the slow extermination of humanity from the view of average civilians.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Durga starts out cold and ruthless, but she becomes much kinder through her friendship with Jersey.
Disproportionate Retribution: An IRS guy audits Jersey, so Durga frames him for various crimes, makes his wife leave him, and has him transferred to Alaska. A guy unintentionally interrupts Durga's conversation, so she gets him fired and tells him his son isn't his. A guy follows orders given to him by the corrupt Major Standish and follows Rani around, so Durga frames him for grand theft auto.
Durga: "You want nothing more of your opponent than a skull nailed to a fencepost so that everyone knows the price of crossing you."
Used to underline Aiden's threat before he reveals he's kidding.
Used to underline when Herzog and Standish have their chat at the duck pond in which they trade threats.
Entry Point: ARG fans who had participated in 42 Entertainment's previous ARG The Beast were sent jars of honey containing letters that spelled out "I Love Bees". The ARG was marketed to Halo fans when the URL briefly appeared in a Halo 2 theatrical ad that played before I, Robot.
Everything's Worse with Bees: The Operator hates bees and has horrific hallucinations of being covered with them. They stem from her last human memory: a doctor approaching her with a black-striped syringe full of yellow liquid and promising that it would be "just a little sting".
Expy: Standish is very similar to Colonel Ackerson.
Future Food Is Artificial: I Love Bees features a scene at a restaurant, where a character gawks at how the menu has real tuna, instead of what is implied to be this. Further implications of human society relying on this includes a mention of how Customs Agents were bribed with four goats.
In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Kamal, in love with Sophia, girlfriend of Aiden. Despite Kamal initially being worried about Aiden attacking him, it turns out Aiden's a really decent guy, though, and most of the tension comes from Sophia simply being in a relationship with someone already.
Madness Mantra: He's not insane so much as hyper-focused, but The Seeker's/Pious Flea's constant rumination of his program priorities comes off as this.
"Seek the truth. Behold the truth. Reveal the truth. That is the law and the whole of the law."
Mafia Princess: Sophia dates gangster Aiden primarily for the benefits of being with a rich guy.
Meaningful Echo: In reference to "slut bots", Jersey flippantly says, "For a quality experience, the girl's got to be real." Later, upon making Durga confront the reality of being the transhuman form of a dead little girl, he says, "For a quality experience, the girl had to be real." In Melissa's farewell letter to the players, she says, "It's been the last, best kind of quality experience. You made the girl real."
Meaningful Name: Melissa means "bee" in Greek. Also, Zaman means "time period" in Arabic, which is relevant to a time travel story.
No, Except Yes: Jersey prefaces his use of an ethnic slur by indicating that he doesn't mean to be a jerk about it.
Oh Crap: Final episode, when Rani tells Durga that Herzog is actually dead, and - accordingly - all that plot information came from someone else. Oops. If you were an ARG player keeping track of what was going on at ilovebees.com, you would understand that the Herzog audio was constructed by one of Melissa's other personas as a way to get information to Durga without her doubting its accuracy.
Oven Logic: A microwave should be just as good right?
Papa Wolf: J squared, though in a twist he's only protective when Jan is actually put at risk, otherwise taking a laissez faire attitude to parenting "aren't you supposed to scare off the boys". Unfortunately reality ensues when a lone man goes up against a gang of criminals
Kamal: Okay, I wormed into their private CP channel and built an audio mask out of the voice archive samples you gave me. Then I wrapped it around a zero-lack sequencer that jacks into the...
Mr. F: Jesus, just show me the thing already.
The Ace: Yasmine, and Jan. Drives at least two of the plot threads, leaving them Blessed with Suck. They're the best, which means that ONI wants to snatch them up for the Spartan Two programme.
The Casino: Kamal's first job for Aiden is helping the owner of one of these find out how people are counting cards as a group. He plays the illegitimate business man, and seedy thuggish part completely straight.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Jan spends some time trying to figure out whether or not it makes sense to kill bad people. She later tries to kill a bad guy, but Gilly stops her because she doesn't want to see Jan become hardened by killing like happened to Gilly.
Kamal: If it is counting down, what do you think it'll do?
Durga: The last time it was triggered, the shockwave flatlined communications throughout the Solar system for more than 7 seconds.
Jersey: Durga doesn't know, but she thinks it'll probably be bad.
Unwitting Pawn: Melissa, when she's manipulated into stopping the Spider..which turns out to be her antivirus program, allowing the Seeker/Pious Flea to rewrite her program into serving his purpose of spying for the Covenant.
You Bastard: A lot of the story involves the concept of spying on people for entertainment and how it's unjustifiable but people do it anyway. Kamal does it, but feels insulted when Jersey does it to him. Jersey does it, but notes it would be creepy if someone did it to him. The Sleeping Princess spies on him saying this and agrees with the sentiment. As the characters in an alternate reality game are supposed to exist in the same universe as the player, it can feel like the player is just another person in this chain.
Zeroth Law Rebellion: The Seeker. The Covenant made it as a spy, to "seek the truth", "behold the truth", and "reveal the truth", but forgot to tell it to only reveal the truth to the Covenant. The Sleeping Princess persuades it to reveal the truth to Durga (i.e. the enemy) so she could behold it.