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This article's subject relates to Season 7 of 24.This is a production article written from an out-of-universe perspective

Operaton Instinct logo

Operation Instinct was a puzzle-solving game found on the FOX official website. Each week, starting from January 12, 2009, a new puzzle was unlocked.

The timeline of Instinct follows that of Day 7.


The game begins with a welcome message, saying that the player came highly recommended. The operation is then explained: "we've managed to tap an encrypted communication channel. It's transmitting intel we believe vital to our current operations, but in severely scrambled form. Your mission: decrypt each transmission. We expect to intercept one every 7 days and will activate a mission for you each time. Check in weekly for your next activated mission".

The player is given "Deep Black" security level, as absolute security is necessary. However, the message says that more agents may be recruited at the player's discretion.

The missions' times refer to the episodes aired that week.

Each jigsaw puzzle was split into a number of rectangular pieces, with the pieces getting slightly smaller each mission.

Mission 1: 8:00-12:00[]

The first decrypted image

Released: January 12, 2009.

Pieces of a jigsaw are put together to create the following image of the Sangalan Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Once the image has been decrypted, the following message comes through the player's phone:

Jack is on our side. Plan is to kidnap Matobos at Residence. 167 Foxhall Road, Sangalan Embassy. Will advise next step as soon as Matobos are in custody and party is en route. Will call you if back-up is needed. Am worried about a set up. Please see enclosed surveillance shot of Embassy.

Mission 2: 12:00-1:00[]

The second decrypted image

Released: January 19, 2009.

Another jigsaw that is put together reveals a photo of a mobile phone with coordinates on it.

A message appears on the player's phone:

FBI Agent Walker is buried at construction site on Morrison Ave. She needs to be secured. You'll find her by the back hoe. Get there ASAP. Follow the coordinates on the GPS map. We're on the move.

Mission 3: 1:00-2:00[]

Released January 26, 2009.

This jigsaw forms an image composed of a file with info about Brian Gedge and a voiceprint analysis.

A voice clip is sent to the player's phone upon completion of the puzzle:

Just got word from my men at the White House. Secret Service Agent Gedge and the First Gentleman left, but have not returned. Secret Service Agent Vossler is also unreachable. Think this might be something to monitor. The White House is in chaos after the plane crash. Are the Matobos with you now?

Mission 4: 2:00-3:00[]

Released February 2, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image composed of: the scene after the bomb explosion that killed Latham, the CIP device, and a board from the device under a piece of glass.

After completing the jigsaw puzzle, this message is sent to the player's phone:

CIP Device destroyed. Latham dead. Matobos alive. Have no choice but to bring Taylor in. There is still hope. Secret Service Agents compromised and killed. May need you here soon.

Mission 5: 3:00-4:00[]

Released February 9, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image of a voiceprint analysis.

A voice clip is sent to the player's phone.

I'm making the case to bring me back into the fold. Bauer and Walker are still in pursuit of Dubaku. I'll need you at a more key position. It might mean reactivating you at an official capacity. Are you in? I worry for the greater risks this may put on your life but I can't trust anyone else. I await your decision.

Mission 6: 4:00-5:00[]

Released February 16, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image of a car dashboard and the mobile phone with a message on it.

A voice clip is sent to the player's phone.

I'm trying to uncover the sources you requested while also doing the work Moss assigned me. I think the woman running point here is suspicious. I've accessed the main server and I'm searching for digital trees but I can't pin down their movements. I'm trying to find a workaround. Do you have access to a secure server so I can send you something if I find it?

Mission 7: 5:00-6:00[]

Released February 23, 2009.

The jigsaw puzzle forms an image of a computer screen with a list of names and a dialog box.

A message is sent to the player's phone:

Mayer is en route to the White House now with his aide. Have you heard from A? When you have a secure and encrypted server send me the list of vetted Secret Service Agents so I have access before FBI does. We need to be one step ahead. Are you safe where you are?

Mission 8: 6:00-7:00/7:00-8:00[]

Released March 2, 2009, the same day as the two back-to-back episodes are aired.

The puzzle forms an image of the phone with the following message, which is then sent to the player:

I am pursuing another informant. I haven't received any communication from C in an hour. Have you? There is something I haven't told you. Call me when you can. Am trying to gain access to FBI server and bandwidth chatter.

Mission 9: 8:00-9:00[]

The message decrypted from the jigsaw in Mission 9

Released March 9, 2009.

The jigsaw forms another image of the phone with the following message on, which in turn is sent to the player's phone:

All communications into the White House are jammed. By the time you get this message, I may be dead. If I don't make it though this, there's someone else I've been working with. You can trust this person. You'll find a name and number in my secure files. You've been a good friend. Good luck. It's up to you now.

Mission 10: 9:00-10:00[]

Released March 16, 2009.

The jigsaw forms a Google map with a path marked with a yellow line.

A voice clip from Chloe O'Brian is sent to the player's phone.

Hello. I accessed your number through our friend's secure file. He says I can trust you. I hope he's right. I'm worried he didn't survive the White House attack. What can you tell me? If my suspicions are true, I fear our friend's computer could be compromised. Can you get to it and leave it as a dead drop at FDR Memorial Park? I've enclosed a map image of the park marked at the location where you should make the drop. I don't trust many people so please don't give me a reason to doubt you.

Mission 11: 10:00-11:00[]

Released March 23, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image from earlier on in the day. There is a building in the distance, and a message from Chloe O'Brian is on the phone:

You know me better than to ask questions I can't answer. I'm sorry.

The following message from Kim Bauer is sent to the player's phone upon completion of the puzzle:

Have you been in contact with my father? I can't find him. I've called everywhere. I have a feeling he's involved with today's attacks. Are you in DC? Please let me know.

Mission 12: 11:00-12:00[]

Released March 30, 2009.

The jigsaw forms a combination of images: two of a damaged laptop (one with a phone message from Chloe O'Brian on it saying to continue with the dead drop mentioned in mission 10), a hard drive, and a voiceprint analysis.

A voice clip from Aaron Pierce is sent to the player's phone.

It's good to talk to you after all this time. Unfortunately, our friend did not make it, but he would want us to keep going, because this is too important. An opening has come up that will allow me to work in the administration. I'm gonna take it so we'll have eyes on the inside. I'll try to break away to complete the run you asked of me. Attached are photos of the laptop I believe to be our friend's. It suffered major damage in the White House siege. Can you salvage anything from it?

Mission 13: 12:00-1:00[]

Released April 6, 2009.

The jigsaw forms a blurred highway photo.

A message from Aaron Pierce is sent to the player's phone:

We might have a problem. Someone very close to the President. I don't think this person can be trusted. I can't say anymore right now, but be prepared; I may call you soon to run a background check. I dropped our friend's computer at the location you sent me. Get there fast.

Mission 14: 1:00-2:00[]

Released April 13, 2009.

The jigsaw shows an image with red brick apartments in the background and the following message from Kim Bauer on the phone, which is then sent to the player's phone:

Despite your message, I know you care about my father and would want to know -- I got a call from someone at FBI. He was there, working with them. I got to see him, but it didn't go as I had planned. So I'm leaving now. Take care.

Mission 15: 2:00-3:00[]

Released April 20, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image of a computer screen with a file manager and a ZIP archive with a folder marked with Tony Almeida's name.

The following message by Chloe O'Brian is sent to the player's phone upon completion of the puzzle:

Did our friend tell you we were also working with Almeida? He's gone dark. I tried to get a lock on his cell number but can't trace him. The computer has an encrypted subfolder marked with Almeida's name. I'm trying to access the contents. The damage done to the hard drive has made it difficult. I feel guilty -- I should trust Tony but my gut tells me something is wrong. I don't know what's going on out there. I'm worried. Have you heard any news?


Mission 16: 3:00-4:00[]

Released April 27, 2009.

The jigsaw forms another voiceprint analysis.

A voice clip from Chloe O'Brian is sent to the player's phone upon completion of the puzzle:

Finally! They're reconstituting the CTU servers at FBI. I'll have access to highly restricted intel again. I'll actually be able to get something done. The last time we were in touch, you had some suspicions. Is there anything I can do to help? As far as my concerns about Tony, the subfolder I hacked proved to be a dead end.

Mission 17: 4:00-5:00[]

Released May 4, 2009.

The jigsaw forms a satellite view of the White House and Olivia Taylor's photograph and location, along with a marked path.

The player receives a text message from Aaron Pierce after completing the puzzle.

Things are starting to unravel here. I have a play in mind but I need hard evidence before I do anything. In previous administrations, I've seen corruption within the President's family. I can tell when someone has crossed the line. Unfortunately, I suspect the President's daughter. If I supply you with cell phone numbers, can you back-trace timestamps and GPS locations?

Mission 18: 5:00-6:00[]

Released May 11, 2009.

The image forms a computer screen with a Google map and two fictional phone numbers highlighted, and a voiceprint analysis.

A voice clip from Chloe O'Brian is sent to the player's phone after completion of the puzzle:

Your hunch was right. She's lying. She was meeting with Martin Collier. According to the GPS locations obtained from their cell phone records, they were both in Pershing Park at the same time. I'm busy here. My fear about Tony was also right. Bill must have suspected something. I can't believe it! Can you handle OT on your own from here on out?

Mission 19: 6:00-7:00/7:00-8:00[]

Released May 18, 2009.

The jigsaw forms an image of a computer workstation and the phone with a message from Aaron Pierce, which is sent to the player's phone:

Thanks for all your help. I couldn't have gotten through today without you. I wish things had turned out differently. But we did what was necessary. Is there anything I can do for Jack?

Background information and notes[]

  • Instinct took place at the same rate as Day 7 episodes were aired. Operation Instinct was written by Geoff Aull & Shauna McGarry, who are the script coordinators on 24.
  • The puzzle game was built by Felix Ortiz, a Flash developer from Santa Monica, CA.
  • The website initially stated the first mission as "8:00-12:00" with each successive mission taking place each hour after that. During late February, due to the back-to-back airing of "Day 7: 6:00pm-7:00pm" and "Day 7: 7:00pm-8:00pm," every mission listing was pushed over by an hour.
  • The jigsaw images for missions 13 and 14 (12:00am–1:00am and 1:00am–2:00am) appear to have been taken in the daytime rather than at night.
  • Extracting the audio files from the website and looking at their MP3 title tags reveals the senders of the voice clips, as they are not stated on the website for missions 3, 5, and 6.
    • Mission 3's voice clip is from Aaron Pierce, which is further supported by its similarity to mission 12's voice clip.
    • Mission 5's voice clip is from Bill Buchanan.
    • Mission 6's voice clip is from Chloe O'Brian, which is further supported by its similarity to missions 10, 16, and 18's voice clips.

External links[]