THE BODY CODE
The Body Code is a cipher system used by the personnel of 107 to record confidential information in a way that carries between cycles. Although the fictional crew of Site-107 tattoo this cipher directly on their skin, it’s still fun to use on regular paper, no needles required!
The Body Code uses a shortened phonetic alphabet, combining and dropping phonemes to reduce the overall number of letters.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Body Code Alphabet
D E G H J K L M N O P R S T U V Y
Words are spelled phonetically using as few letters as possible. The spelling of any given word can change from person to person, with the variations between spellings acting as another layer of security to the code. Needing to read the words out loud functions as a sort of puzzle that help make it more difficult for classified notes to be read at a glance. It’s a code, not a language, so no word or name has a fixed or “correct” spelling. Make things up!
SECURE = SEKUR, SEKR
CONTAIN = KONTYN, KNTEYN, KONTEN
PROTECT = PRTEKT, PRTKT, PROTKT
A few other examples of combined letters and sounds
E = E, A
D = B, D
V = V, W, F
K = K, C, Q
S = S, C, Z
Y = Y, I
Once words are translated to the modified alphabet, they can be applied to this cipher grid.
Words are constructed using one base diamond shape, with consonants represented by smaller diamonds, and vowels represented by dots.
There are four consonant diamond shapes.
Cut out of the base
Floating inside the base
Attached to the base
Overlapping the base
Consonant diamonds may have a horizontal or vertical line through them to indicate which letter they are, as shown on the grid.
Vowel dots have unique rules as well.
E is attached to an edge line.
O floats outside a consonant (or if beginning a word, outside the base).
Y sits on a line and attaches a tail to an edge of the base, but not a corner.
U floats inside a consonant (or inside the base if beginning a word).
Sometimes vowels look very similar or even the same. Context is important for figuring out which letter is which.
The letters are placed clockwise, as shown.
Phrases are created by lining the bases up along their edges, reading left to right.
Location meanings change based on individual, department, or other grouping. Common standardized locations in Site-107 include:
Inner left wrist – Indicates which department or group key they’re using for their location meanings.
Back of neck – Foundation ID, in case your body is not easily identifiable
Back – Used by department heads or group leaders as their master key to their group’s location system.
Left ring finger – Marital status. Mostly for sentiment.
Directional arrows may also be applied to add additional meaning. The direction is based on the body standing upright, arms at sides, meaning Up would point toward the head when at rest, and Down would point toward the feet. Adding more arrows may increase the severity of this meaning. The arrows have the following contexts:
Up - Good, Safe Class, a favorable outcome, a positive indicator.
Down - Bad, Keter Class, unfavorable outcome, a negative indicator.
Sides - Caution, Euclid Class, an indicator of special note or importance, keep watch.
Here are some examples of this system in practice.
The phrase “casualty 9/6/19,” with two downward arrows, located on the left calf (an area designated for recording details about breaches).
Phrase Meaning: “A breach on 9/6/19 suffered heavy casualties.”
The name “Dr. Black,” side arrow, located on the right upper arm (an area designated to record new medication requirements).
Meaning: “Dr. Black has new medication requirements, but they aren’t severe.”
The name “Dr. Black,” one arrow, located on the right upper arm (an area designated to record new medication requirements).
Meaning: Dr. Black has severe medication requirements.
Numbers use the same grid and base diamond system as words.
The key difference is that numbers are indicated by a caret over the base diamond.
Lines between digits are used to indicate divisions.
LET’S TRY IT!
“FIND US ALIVE 9-6-19”
Step 1 – Adjust Spelling
FIND US ALIVE --> VYND US ELYV
Step 2 – Create Characters
Step 3 (Optional) – Assign a Location and an Orientation
Location - Upper right arm (recording important dates)
Orientation – Up
Meaning: Successful launch!
How do you spell…
However you want! As long as it contains the letters on the grid, you can use them however you like.
Where do I put…
Wherever you want! The directional meanings are chosen by individuals or groups of people, so you are welcome to be your own department head and put one wherever you’d like!
Am I doing this right?
As long as it makes sense to you, yes! This is only for fun, you can bend the rules if you would like.
There are shorter alphabets that use English characters, why did you pick these letters?
I am not a cryptographer or a linguist, and being completely honest, a lot of this code was designed to be cool looking and fun to use, rather than strictly functional. These letters fit into a nice grid! It’s loosely based on the Pigpen cipher that I loved writing in as a kid.
Is this canon?
Parts of it are! As we’ve said before, it’s only canon if it’s in the text of the show. There are a few times when characters mention diamonds and dots and lines, but if you imagine it looking and functioning differently, your interpretation is valid.
Can I get a tattoo of the Body Code?
Sure! We would love to see it if you do!
How do you do stick-and-poke tattoos?
Although the characters in Find Us Alive use some method of stick-and-poke tattooing to apply the Body Code, we don’t recommend doing that in real life. Stick-and-poke tattoos can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. The best way to get a tattoo is to let a professional handle it. It’ll look better that way, too!