Mephiles the Dark (闇のメフィレス Yami no Mefiresu?) is one of the primary antagonists in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). He is the malevolent conscience, mind and will of the sun god Solaris. Mephiles was born during the Solaris Project when the experiments on Solaris split him into Mephiles and Iblis. After his birth, Mephiles was sealed inside the Scepter of Darkness by Shadow the Hedgehog, but was freed ten years later during a skirmish between Shadow, Rouge and Dr. Eggman.
After his release, Mephiles orchestrated a centuries-long plan to release Iblis from Princess Elise and rejoin with it, which succeeded when he killed Sonic the Hedgehog. He then reemerged with Iblis, remaking Solaris, but was defeated by Sonic, Shadow and Silver, and subsequently erased from existence.
Mephiles has three forms. His original form was an amorphous mass of darkness. In his second form, Mephiles appeared almost identical to Shadow the Hedgehog, aside from having green eyes with slit pupils, no mouth (though his muzzle moves when he speaks, as if he does have a mouth), and the fact that everything that is red on Shadow is a pale powder blue on Mephiles. His third and most common form was a crystalline, anthropomorphic hedgehog with no visible mouth, nose, or feet. His eyes also change color in this form, gaining a red sclera and lighter green irises.
Mephiles was accidentally created during the Solaris Project, under the supervision of the Duke of Soleanna. In one of the Project's experiments, Solaris was split into two separate entities: Iblis, its raw power, and Mephiles, its cunning mind. As Mephiles was trying to escape the facility, he was sealed in the Scepter of Darkness by Shadow the Hedgehog, who had traveled through time by ten years before the events of the game. As Mephiles was sealed inside the scepter, he vowed that he would not forget Shadow and that one day, he would kill him.
In the intervening years, Dr. Eggman somehow acquired the Scepter of Darkness. In the present day, the Scepter was shattered during a struggle between Eggman, Shadow, and Rouge the Bat, and Mephiles was released. Mephiles absorbed Shadow's shadow, and transformed into a copy of Shadow; in doing so, he absorbed Shadow's powers as well. Upon gaining his new form, he then expressed amusement at the irony about how he was resurrected by the shadow of the person who sealed him away before sarcastically thanking Shadow for releasing him. Realizing that Shadow did not know who Mephiles was (as Shadow had not yet traveled back in time to face Mephiles in the past), Mephiles transported Shadow and Rouge into the future.
Mephiles then sought to find the Chaos Emeralds in order to bring pain and despair to Princess Elise and release the "Flames of Disaster" (a.k.a. Iblis), who had been sealed inside Elise's soul until she cried. Mephiles intended to fuse with Iblis, reuniting them into a single entity, Solaris, their original persona.
To accomplish this, he traveled to the future and implied to Silver the Hedgehog and Blaze the Cat that Sonic the Hedgehog was the cause of Iblis being released, which led to the destruction of their world. Therefore, Sonic was referred to as the "Iblis Trigger" by Silver and Blaze. He sent the two back in time, having revealed his ability to them earlier when he told them that they needed to go back to the past to prevent Iblis's awakening, making them believe that killing Sonic in the present would save their future.
Along the way, as all three storylines progress, the three main characters discover how Mephiles was somehow involved in the incident which created the "Flames of Disaster", wielded by Princess Elise. Mephiles has a very pivotal role in all of the story-lines, throughout the course of the game. He has the most direct role in Shadow's story. He also has a major role in Silver's story, as he manipulates Silver and Blaze into attempting to kill Sonic so that he can finally fuse with Iblis. While he himself has a very minor role in Sonic's story, where he is only seen when Sonic, Knuckles the Echidna and Miles "Tails" Prower are eavesdropping on his conversation with Silver and Blaze that ends with them time-traveling back to present-day Soleanna, his actions are still very much prevalent to Sonic's story, especially with his encounters with Silver.
When encountering Shadow again, Mephiles attempted to break Shadow's will to fight and join him (much like Black Doom had previously tried) by revealing that in the current future, the world and an unwilling E-123 Omega would turn against Shadow and imprison him in suspended animation (while keeping his hatred for Shadow a secret). Thus, he attempted to convince Shadow to join him, saying they would both get revenge on the world. However, Shadow proved immune to Mephiles' tactics, saying that he would determine his own destiny, leading to a battle between the two of them. Though Shadow took the upper-hand, Mephiles knocked him into a wall with an energy blast and incapacitated him when he lowered his guard, but Omega intervened and drove Mephiles off. Later, Omega met Mephiles again, who revealed to Omega that he was one that would imprison Shadow in the future, prompting the robot to shoot him with two mini-guns. Though stunned, Mephiles laughs and escapes from Omega before Shadow and Rouge arrive. As Shadow (along with Silver after Shadow foiled his second assassination attempt on Sonic) had traveled back into the past at that point, he learned of Mephiles' true nature (and Silver learned that Mephiles had lied about Sonic being the Iblis Trigger).
Shadow, Omega, and Rouge later encountered Mephiles in a desert temple, though they were too late to stop him from getting the Chaos Emerald there. Again, Mephiles offered Shadow a chance to join him, but Shadow, knowing Mephiles' true intentions, flat-out refused the offer. Mephiles was fought again and lost. After his seeming defeat, however, Mephiles proved immune to being imprisoned in a new Scepter of Darkness that Shadow tried to use on him, saying that it wouldn't work on him anymore (he implies that the reason he was immune was either due to his time traveling by ten years ago to absorb Shadow's shadow [English version] or simply absorbing Shadow's shadow and copying his power altogether [Japanese version]). Mephiles then uses two Chaos Emeralds to create an army of clones of himself. He then boasts to Shadow that he can't defeat him, and asks why he is even bothering to protect a world that will eventually turn against him. Shadow replies, "If the whole world decides to become my enemy, then I will fight like I always have!", then removes his gold rings and destroys the entire army.
In the Last Story, Mephiles, having either escaped or simply survived the fight with Shadow, finds the purple Chaos Emerald. At this point, he (rather than progressing to the next scene) travels to the future to deceive Silver (this is not specified, but it would explain how he had the purple Chaos Emerald and the knowledge of Sonic at this point). Eventually, after Silver failed his mission, he uses it to warp to Sonic and Elise's location shortly after they escape Eggman's exploding Egg Carrier. He blinds them with the Emerald's powers, and projects an energy spear (dubbed the "Dark Chaos Lance") that impales Sonic from behind, killing him instantly. Elise cries over his death and, as a result, releases Iblis, allowing Mephiles to fuse with him and transform into Solaris (who is soon destroyed in the final battle against Shadow, Silver and a revived Sonic in their Super States).
It is also revealed in the Last Story that Mephiles' lie to Silver and Blaze about Sonic being the Iblis Trigger was partially true: Sonic is indeed the Iblis Trigger, but his death would not stop Iblis's resurrection; rather, his death would be the very event that would release Iblis from Elise's soul. The key to Iblis's freedom was an event that would cause Elise to become so consumed with despair and guilt that she would cry, as she had formed a very close friendship with Sonic.
Other game appearanes
Sonic Rivals 2
Unlike most of the villains in the Sonic series, who are driven by a lust for power or revenge, Mephiles (according to Shadow) only seems to crave destruction. He is portrayed as a cold, manipulative, cruel, sadistic, and ruthless villain with no sense of compassion. He would do anything to accomplish his goals, even if it means taking innocent lives. Mephiles happens to take great pleasure and delight in hurting others and has been shown to have a very warped and twisted sense of humor, making him a very sadistic and psychotic individual. For example, he made it his sole mission to cause pain to Elise throughout the entire course of the game, and even broke out into a maniacal laughter after ending Sonic's life. This is also seen when he taunts Omega by telling him he would be reprogrammed to capture Shadow. Mephiles is also highly intelligent, capable of using and manipulating people to further his evil plans. This is shown when he preyed upon Silver's frustration and desire to save the world, by deceiving him into thinking that Sonic was responsible for the devastation of his future, knowing that killing Sonic would have done the exact opposite of what Silver was trying to achieve.
Mephiles also has nihilistic tendencies, as evidenced in his final fight against Shadow, where he asks why Shadow even bothers fighting at all, and why Shadow even bothers defending humanity when they will inevitably persecute him later. However, it seems that he has some manners, as he bowed to Shadow after taking his form, though this was most likely done as a mocking gesture.
It has also been speculated that Mephiles might also be somewhat of a coward, judging from several actions he displayed throughout the game:
- Instead of fighting Sonic face-to-face, he appears behind him without Sonic or Elise knowing, and proceeds to impale him from behind. In battle, the action of attacking from behind is usually an act of cowardice.
- In addition to this, he creates a distraction to keep either of them from noticing him while he proceeded to kill Sonic.
- During both boss fights, Mephiles hardly attacks on his own without aid, either by summoning shadows, or cloning himself to use as distractions. He uses the shadows in the first boss fight as shields, and increases the number of them when you get too close.
- During the boss fights, he waits to attack Shadow until his back is turned.
- He also doesn't fight Shadow directly until the player expels him from Shadow's shadow.
- In the second boss fight, you cannot face him until you clear the floor of the seething shade covering it, having to use Chaos Boost to expel him.
- He managed to convince Silver and Blaze into attempting to kill Sonic before actually doing it himself, which would in turn release Iblis, though there was a much stronger form of Iblis already free in his time while he had a Chaos Emerald at hand.
- In the time ten years previous to the story that takes place, when Shadow corners the newly created Mephiles before sealing him away, Mephiles' voice sounds startled if not frightened before quickly shifting into his more recognizable tone as he makes a threat to Shadow.
Despite this, however, he has demonstrated some fortitude, such as when he willingly let Omega beat him into submission and even laughed when the latter intensified in his attacks after he implied Omega's role in sealing away Shadow in the future.
Mephiles also seems to have a habit of waving his hands when he speaks, as he has been seen doing so in nearly all of his appearances. He ranges from holding his hands up high while making a declaration, to holding them out to the sides slightly or even in front of himself while making himself appear as an ally to Silver and Blaze. Mephiles also showed limited interest in people, taking particular interest in Shadow, Omega, Silver and Sonic, the latter only because he needed to kill him. Mephiles is shown to hold a particular hatred for Shadow since it was he who sealed him in the Scepter of Darkness. This being said, Mephiles did not acknowledge Rouge, Blaze or Elise, whom he would have been aware of, while the rest of the game's cast did not know of him just as much as he did them.
Powers and abilities
Mephiles is a being who may not have a material form at all. He has great deal of shapeshifting skills that allow him to turn into different forms of matter, like liquid or gas, or even take another person's appearance by absorbing that individual's shadow. Subtle differences are applied, however, such as a far darker shade of various colors, a pale complexion, and bestial green eyes. He can also grow stronger by absorbing shadows, especially if it comes from the same type of shadow as the being whose shadow he absorbed earlier outside of time counts him as a very powerful character in the series. This is especially evident with his second encounter, where he managed to effortlessly escape imprisonment from another Scepter of Darkness due to his present self having gone back in time absorbing Shadow's shadow while the latter was sealing away Mephiles' past self (although in the Japanese version, he merely states that he couldn't be sealed again due to absorbing Shadow's power via his shadow without even mentioning time travel). When he emerges from his victims' shadow to confront them, he is also shown to be much faster.
Mephiles can manipulate and move through time with an ability similar to Chaos Control. Whether or not this was due to taking Shadow's form through his shadow or it was one of his innate abilities is debatable; however, being one half of the time god Solaris, the latter seems more probable. In addition, he has enough control over his abilities of time manipulation to separate pursuing enemies, as evidenced by how he managed to escape Omega and Shadow after their first fight in the future. His primary offensive technique is a massive sphere of black energy that is spawned from his hands that home in on their targets. He can also use the energy spheres to move himself and others through time. Since Mephiles absorbed Shadow's shadow, he also has the ability to actually be his shadow, as seen in the first boss fight against him. Furthermore, he can alter his physical form to sink into the ground and merge with the shadow of another. He can also manipulate shadows to create "clones" of himself, although they are warped and imperfect without the power of the Chaos Emeralds. He can also merge the clones together to make large shadow monsters.
As seen in the "Showdown with Mephiles" cutscene, Mephiles can blast opponents away by firing shockwaves of energy at them. Mephiles' final attack used before fusing with Iblis to become Solaris was a beam of energy that he extends from his right hand to kill Sonic.
Mephiles appears to be immortal, surviving every fight he takes part in, and whenever he is beaten he seems to just shift into his base form. Whether or not he is capable of feeling pain is unknown; although he reacts to taking damage during his boss battles with Shadow, he merely stood and allowed himself to be shot multiple times when confronting Omega at Wave Ocean. Indeed, when defeated by Shadow a second time, he also declared himself to be immortal and invincible.
Because he is the mind and will of Solaris, Mephiles is very intelligent. This is shown in his ability as a skilled manipulator, being able to easily manipulate Silver and Blaze into nearly getting his desired result. He is also shown to have adept knowledge on using modern technology, as evidence by knowing exactly which files in Dr. Eggman's computer to use when trying to persuade Silver to assassinate Sonic. This is most likely due to his apparently endless lifespan and time travel power allowing him to study the world around him for as long as he needs to.
Mephiles is very skillful in the usage of the Chaos Emeralds' reality warping capabilities. He can release unseen shockwaves from them, have them instill visions in others, blind opponents, and warp the other six Emeralds to his location instantly using just one. Presumably in the latter's case, he utilized the Chaos Emeralds' magnetic properties to pull this off.
Mephiles's monstrous form
Mephiles's monstrous form is a state that Mephiles reached after empowering his darkness with the power of the Chaos Emeralds and fusing with his shadows. Creating a giant body that he controls. In this state, he can fire large lasers in addition to the increment in physical capabilities.
As a being of darkness, Mephiles is vulnerable to light-based attacks, such as the Chaos Spear, which render him immobile. His shadow-mending skills are also not infallible as intense power can force him out of other people's shades.
Mephiles is fought twice in Shadow Episode in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), first in Flame Core (Mephiles Phase 1) and then in Dusty Desert (Mephiles Phase 2). In each battle, he uses his minions to overwhelm the player with numbers and assaults, though he uses them much more aggressively in the second battle. The player has to use the Chaos Boost to make Mephiles vulnerable to attack, during which he will fight using energy balls and illusions.
Shadow the Hedgehog
When Shadow came to the time of the Solaris Project and sealed him, Mephiles held fear of Shadow for how easily he stopped him, but also promised, that one day he would kill him as revenge. When Mephiles was released from the Scepter of Darkness and took Shadow's shadow to gain a new form, he laughed at the irony but still thanked Shadow for mistakenly releasing him, though he was surprised that he did not know him at that point. At the time of their meeting in Flame Core however, Mephiles had changed his mind about killing Shadow and instead gained a fixation to turn him over to his side. He tried deceiving him into joining him in exterminating humanity, but Shadow refused and it came to blows between them.
In all their encounters, Mephiles showed great respect for Shadow due to his skills which only fueled his determination to convert him. Even in the final fight, Mephiles tried making Shadow join him. However, after Shadow vulgarly ejected Mephiles' invitation, Mephiles finally gave up his crusade and expressed his disappointment in him before resuming his old mission to kill him.
Mephiles and Omega never met until the battle between Mephiles and Shadow. In their first fight, Mephiles thought that Omega was no match for him and saw him a "nuisance" only to get brutally beaten. When the two later fought each other in Wave Ocean, Mephiles mocked and taunted Omega with how he was the one who sealed Shadow in the future. Omega took this insult to heart, to the point that he intensified his attacks while Mephiles faded away laughing. Omega would later take his revenge the final battle against Mephiles alongside Shadow and Rouge.
Silver the Hedgehog
Mephiles held little interest in Silver the Hedgehog as a person and instead only used him as a tool to further his ends. Using the hedgehog's desire to save his world, Mephiles deceived Silver into going after and kill Sonic after telling him he could undo the ruination of his time that way, unaware that he was actually aiding Mephiles with his plans to destroy it. Along the way, Mephiles continued to encourage Silver to continue the mission, until Silver discovered the truth about his plans, forcing Mephiles to kill Sonic himself.
Mephiles's main mission was to free his other half Iblis from within Princess Elise and destroy time itself. To this end, he carved a path of destruction, deceit and death, where he manipulate Silver, tried to convince Shadow to join him, and killed Sonic. Once he succeeded, Mephiles laughed in triumph before fusing with him. The extend Mephiles went to fuse with Iblis and the multiple plots he spawned for that singular goal indicates that Mephiles' only interest during his existence was to reunite with Iblis.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The two have never interact, but Mephiles manipulated Silver by saying Sonic was the cause of releasing Iblis into the future and sent Silver to assassinate Sonic, but after Silver had learned that Mephiles tricked him, Silver no longer trusts Mephiles and befriends Sonic. During the last story of the game, Mephiles successfully kills Sonic and transforms along with Iblis into Solaris, but unfortunately, Sonic was revived and Mephiles, Iblis and Solaris are killed by Sonic, Shadow and Silver in their super forms.
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Mephiles is present in the comics' universe, but he has yet to make an appearance. In this media, Mephiles was born during an experiment that split his original being, Solaris, into himself and Iblis. He was later trapped by Shadow the Hedgehog, but was freed and sought to rejoin with Iblis and remake Solaris. He eventually succeed in his plan, but was stopped and erased from existence by Sonic the Hedgehog and Elise. An alternate version of Mephiles also appeared as a prisoner in the Zone Jail.
Mephiles' name is derived from Mephistopheles, the demon from the legend of Faust, and possibly after Mephitis, the personification of the poisonous gases emitted from the ground in swamps and volcanic vapors.
Mephiles may also be inspired by the false prophet in the Book of Revelations of the Bible as he works in the shadows and manipulates the characters into doing things that would only further his own goals. Silver's theme song, "Dreams of an Absolution", also calls him a preacher who lies which may also be a reference to this.
Another possible origin for Mephiles' name may be from Arabic, similar to Iblis. Mephiles could refer to "Muffles" (مفلس), in Arabic Muffles means "broke", "a person with nothing". The term extends not just to material objects, but to everything non- material as well, such as good deeds, emotions, hopes, dreams. In religious context, Mephiles/Muffles/مفلس is a name for the devil (similar to Iblis) and it refers to him as having no good deeds, no hope for redemption, and no chance of salvation. Taken this in mind, and Mephiles' nature in the game, they would seem similar.
- "AH HA HA HA HA! Oh, how ironic fate can be." Mephiles' first line in Shadow's story.
- "I thank you, Shadow the Hedgehog." - Mephiles introducing himself to Shadow after escaping the Scepter of Darkness.
- "What you gave to me, I now return to you! A one-way ticket to oblivion!" - Mephiles transporting Shadow and Rouge into the future.
- "Such foolishness... very well, let's see if you can entertain me." - Mephiles' battle opening in Phase 1.
- "Drown in darkness!" - Mephiles phase 2 battling Shadow
- Hahaha! Welcome, Omega. It won't take much for me to deal with you. - Mephiles mocks E-123 Omega in Wave Ocean.
- "This only proves you were created to stop Shadow, the ultimate life form. Don't tell you didn't know. You may have been programmed by humanity, but what you did to Shadow in the future, that was your..." - Mephiles taunting and mocking Omega then getting attacked further, eventually fading away laughing.
- "I am forever... I am... invincible..." - Mephiles' outro in Phase 2.
- "You must realize now that you cannot hope to stop me with your... limited power." - Mephiles after summoning clones to surround Team Dark.
- "It's futile. The world will betray you. Why fight it all? Why risk your life for those who will persecute you later?" Mephiles' last attempt to convince Shadow to side with him.
- "Finally, the seal is broken! At long last, I'll be able to join with you! IBLIS!!!" - Mephiles when Iblis was freed.
- Mephiles is the only character in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and in any other Sonic-related media who has actually successfully killed Sonic.
- When in his crystalline form, Mephiles' white "crest" appears somewhat in the shape of a bird, the animal that makes up the Solaris emblem.
- Dr. Eggman had shown an interest in capturing Mephiles. He tried to take the Scepter of Darkness, and later when Shadow asked Eggman who Mephiles was, he said he would tell him if Shadow brought Mephiles to him. It isn't stated why Eggman wanted to capture Mephiles, but based on his actions in the game, it can be guessed that he had hoped to harness Mephiles' powers to travel through time if he failed to do so with Iblis, or that he needed both Iblis and Mephiles to completely control time. This last possibility is the most likely, since the full Solaris is a being that exists throughout all of time, and Iblis does not appear to have any time travel powers.
- Even though Mephiles appears to lack a visible mouth, the general area on his "muzzle" moves in and out as he speaks in a manner similar to an inflating balloon.
- When Mephiles is in the future, he has a purple Chaos Emerald, but later he doesn't have it or doesn't use it for some reason until the last story. However since he can travel through time, the actions he does throughout the game could be in any unspecified order.
- It should be noted that Mephiles may have first heard his name while Shadow trails after him during the Aquatic Base level, as Shadow declares "Mephiles! I won't let you escape!". Since Mephiles had not taken a name at the time, Shadow may have inadvertently given him the idea for it, and the rest he may have come up with himself.
- Many aspects of Mephiles, most notably his hateful connection to Shadow, his ability to make clones of himself, and his desire to flat out destroy existence in itself, bears several similarities to the Matrix villain Agent Smith. Also, his implied hatred of humanity mirrors Agent Smith's hatred of humanity. Shadow and Mephiles' final conversation in "Showdown with Mephiles" mirrors a similar conversation during the final fight between Neo and Agent Smith in "Matrix Revolutions".
- Mephiles never directly spoke to any female characters he encountered.
- It's possible that Mephiles might have a low tolerance for aggravation, which can be seen when Shadow refused to join with him. The result of that was Mephiles changing form and during the following boss fight, as well as the followup one later, snippets of dialogue suggest a more aggressive side, in which he will growl and even make threats. However, being that both fights are paired against Shadow and only Shadow, it's also likely that due to Mephiles' hatred towards him, that this was merely a display of hostility.
- In his crystalline form, it's possible that his quills and ears, and for that matter, the rest of himself, is as pliable as it would be in his Shadow form, as several cutscenes show the quills bending and being influenced by movement, and in one scene, his ear twitches slightly.
- It is interesting to note that in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Shadow will bear a great resemblance to Mephiles after wiping-out on any skiing or snowboarding event.
- It is unknown why Mephiles tried to go into the past to find Chaos Emeralds and trick Silver into killing Sonic instead of just using his purple Chaos Emerald to join with Iblis in the future. It could be because Iblis evolved so much he could not fuse with Mephiles, or to ensure that Sonic's death would still occur so that Iblis would continue to exist at this point in the future (it is also possible that he could not go back to the exact moment where he and Iblis became two separate entities because he was already present).
- In the brief cinematic in which Solaris's core is destroyed, a faint "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" can be heard in the background audio. The source of Solaris's death scream is almost certainly Mephiles as he is being disabled with Solaris's defeat.
- In the middle of the game, Mephiles travels to the present after being defeated by Shadow in the future. At this point, Mephiles is already in his Crystalline form. In Silver's Story, however, Mephiles is in the form he got after directly taking Shadow's shadow. This likely means he can change his form at will.
- Ian Flynn, current head writer for the Archie Comics, has expressed the opinion that Sega intended the Time Eater to be a sort of reborn Mephiles, some portion of him surviving the defeat of Solaris and the paradox that prevented his existence. However, no Sega statement is known to have been issued in response.
- ↑ Black, Fletcher (14 November 2006). "Cast". Sonic the Hedgehog: Official Game Guide. Prima Games. p. 6. ISBN 978-0761555100. "Little is known about the mysterious creature Mephiles—it may not even be a material being at all."
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sonic Team, Blindlight (24 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog. Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Mephiles Phase 1. "Shadow the Hedgehog: Now that he's materialized, he's faster. But my Chaos Spear should be able to stop him. Light against darkness..."
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Cutscene: Mephiles' temptation
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Cutscene: “He’s the Iblis Trigger!”
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Cutscenes: Elise's tears
- ↑ Sonic Team, Blindlight (24 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog. Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Mephiles Phase 1. "Shadow the Hedgehog: In this state, when I am radiating with power, I should be able to drag him out of my shadow."
- ↑ Sonic Team, Sonic Team USA (14 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog. Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. "Shadow the Hedgehog: Who are you, and how do you know my name?"