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iStory:The Private/chapter 301 alternatives

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This page notes the different possible versions of chapter 1 of The Private.

All cases (I)

Rachel Mills visits the the remnants of Pinehearst Headquarters, which is in ruins due to the explosion that happened there and then leaves the area in a cab. Some time later, she is in an office, interviewing for a civilian job. The interviewer asks her from behind a desk about her time as a U.S. Marine, and why he should even consider employing someone who screwed up their career so badly. Rachel then begins explaining what happened on her last tour of duty in Iraq.

While stationed in Iraq the previous summer, the then Corporal Mills arrives by Humvee to a makeshift outpost that serves as a checkpoint in the town of Ghanaf, Iraq. Rachel's commanding officer, Barton, orders her to search a woman in a stopped car on a blazing, busy street. Rachel hears something beep and recalls how her grandfather used to tell her she had great hearing skills, and that they would save her life one day. Rachel approaches the car and hears someone walking away from the scene. By the time she gets there, the person is gone, and Rachel finds a piece of a local newspaper with a strand of digits written on it:


Suddenly, Rachel hears a bang and goes back to the checkpoint, where Barton and the other Marines have been ambushed and subdued. Thick smoke is hissing out of canisters on the pavement. Rachel hears a shooting start, and makes out the sound of both sides' gunshots. She also sees a group of shooters wearing full-body hazard suits and heading her way. Rachel runs into an alley, pursued, and turns around to face her pursuer, who turns out to be Ammar, the Marines' Iraqi translator. Rachel takes him deeper into the alley before the enemy fighters capture him and kill him as a traitor. She advises him that they need to escape the area, and to run and not look back. Rachel then takes off running and must choose whether to go in an apartment building or head down a side street.


Option Summary
Option 1 (roof case):
head into an apartment building, then up to the roof

Option 2 (basement case):
head into an apartment building, then hide in the basement

Option 3 (optimal case):
head down a side street

All cases (II)

Rachel then takes out the piece of paper from before. She tells Ammar about it and mentions the erratic beeping sound she heard before finding it and that she suspects the two things are connected. Ammar tells her that they should be worried about surviving, and Rachel tells him that she has a hunch and to let her study the digits. After looking at the paper again, she says she thinks she knows what it means.

Option Summary
Option 4 (DFONCO):
tell Ammar the first letters of the coded message spell "DFONCO"

Option 5 (GOTOFI):
tell Ammar the first letters of the coded message spell "GOTOFI"


  • Using Options 3 and 4 is the optimal case. Being on the roof (Option 1) would normally give Rachel tactical advantages, allowing her to know when someone is approaching, not be as vulnerable to a gas attack, and be ready if airborne help arrives. However, all of those things do not apply for Rachel as her companion, Ammar, is working against her and she does not immediately find any airborne support in the area. Option 3 allows Rachel to gain additional information about her attackers. She is able to learn that at least two of them also speak English and one of them does not appear to be of Middle Eastern descent. Option 4 allows Rachel to learn the additional information that her companion, Ammar, is part of the plan to capture her, and enables her to get rid of the bug he placed on her.


  • In the original version of Chapter 301, released January 14, 2009, the chapter ended with Rachel looking at the coded message and the player was given the opportunity to vote to affect what happened next with the following prompt:
Select the option with the first six letters of the decoded message. Vote carefully: your choice affects what happens in the next chapter. Discuss your choice at the 9th Wonders "Friend or Foe" forum. Poll ends and story continues on Friday, 1/16/09.

What do you think the note means?

  • On January 16, 2009, the polling was set aside and chapter 301 continued with the player being given the opportunity to choose either option. However, on January 20, 2009, Option 5 ("GOTOFI") was removed and users were left with only the "DFONCO" option.

iStory Chapters edit

Friend or Foe (Operation Bad BloodOperation Splinter) • The Private (summaries) • The Agent (summaries) • The Civilian (summaries) • Faction Zero (summaries) • Slow Burn (summaries) • The Puppet Master (summaries) • Purpose (summaries)

Related iStory Portals: CharactersLocationsPlaces