407 Primacy

It’s an MMO PVP RGP with an integrated ARG …

Summary: The FBI enters the world of alternate reality gaming to investigate a violent death.

Original air date: November 9, 2007 (US)

Written by: Julie Hebert

Directed by: Chris Hartwelll
Opening numbers:

100,000,000: Avatars
5: Billion dollar industry
53 – 54: Alternate realities
2: Technoutopian visionaries

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Charlie asks Amita to move in with him
  • Charlie’s book is selling very well (it’s listed in the top 100 at Amazon)
  • Larry returns to CalSci to teach a seminar
  • Amita has played Primacy since she was an undergrad (age 19).  Her avatar’s name is Kali Goddess of Destruction
  • Don and Liz are on the outs and Don is wondering what to do
  • Colby hasn’t had a serious date in two years
  • Larry has been offered the chance to help search for the God Particle
  • Charlie’s publicist for the book is named Ruby
  • Alan is pondering moving again
  • Information on Amita’s driver’s license*:
    • 2901 W Dorchester St
    • Los Angeles, CA 90006
    • DOB 06/10/75

*Information is from a prop. Spoken dialog will take precedence in canon.

Episode Quotes:

  • Larry: Charles you look like someone stole your chalk.
  • Larry: Who is this person that belongs to this mess!
  • Charlie: I can be extremely whimsical.  I do lots of things on a whim.
  • Colby: Give me a good old-fashioned foot chase any day.
  • Amita: Maybe you should be part of my alliance.
    Charlie: I’m gonna start my own alliance.
  • Larry: I sense a big hary but coming.  Ooooo, pardon my terrible pun.
  • Charlie: I have the will power of a field mouse.
    Larry: But within that field you are a very popular mouse.
  • Charlie: She stole his mojo.
  • Charlie: I know how to trap this guy.
    Colby: Yeah? Does it involve your deceptive upper body strength?
  • Larry [to Alan]: You could move in with me but I don’t live anywhere.


Episode Synopsis:

The FBI is called when an apparent suicide jumper turns out to be an assistant US attorney, Peter Wayburn from Kansas.  It turns out Wayburn was part of an online game group called the Midwestern Axbutchers participating in an alternate reality game called Primacy.  Charlie thinks he was pushed off the roof.  Both Charlie and the FBI team are surprised to find out Amita plays the game as well and she helps to point out clues for the game at the crime scene.

According to Anthony Braxton, a member of Wayburn’s group, the ARG prize is a million dollars.  With Amita’s knowledge of the game Charlie is able to show an increase in aggression by a rogue group calling itself the Shadowhelm Brigade.  It appears any time a team is leading in the game someone from Shadowhelm starts intimidating the players, and the teams drop out.  With the loss of Wayburn, his group drops out as well, leaving only Shadowhelm and one other team still playing.   The only problem is most of the players in the Shadowhelm Brigade don’t exist.

Amita offers to play the game in order to meet members of the Brigade within the game.  She manages to find and fight a player called Spectre.  While she is fighting the character the FBI tracks the game play back to a Frank Reigert, the only problem is Frank is found dead in his apartment and someone apparently has hijacked his system and is still playing the character.  Amita is able to defeat Spectre and gets another clue for finding the million dollar prize.  The clue turns out to be false and nearly gets Colby killed in the process and Charlie doesn’t want Amita doing any more field work for the case.

Charlie suggests setting a trap for Spectre using a mirror site for the game.  Amita would fight Spectre within the game allow him to kill her character and he would be given a clue to MacArthur Park where the FBI would be waiting to arrest him.  The plan works well until Amita kills Specre by mistake.  While Charlie is off at an interview for his book, which is selling surprisingly well, Amita is contacted in the real world by Spectre.  Amita and the FBI team set up the meeting in MacArthur Park.  The FBI arrest Gary Meyers, an ex-employee of Wolf Tracks the company who wrote the Primacy game.  He wanted the million dollar prize to fund a new game that would take gaming to new heights of alternate reality.