Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Apologies to Seward Peninsula and Happy New Year!

Progress Continues!

It's a fine day at Arketer Labs, barring complications the last of the infected should have a clean bill of health verified by 8:00pm ALT (Arketer Labs Timezone, not officially recognized but it helps keep things synchronized and geographically vague).

Almost all of the property damage has been repaired and a very large fruit basket has been sent to the Eskimo community of Seward Peninsula by way of apology for several unfortunate messages that somehow got around our isolation protocols.

We're very sorry.

Moving on.

The New Year Approaches!

In addition to the annual New Year's Eve parties in everyone's respective facilities there will be a voluntary cross-facility exhibition demonstrating all that is safe to demonstrate regarding present ongoing projects as well as featuring an interactive digital model of Deep Seven.

Participants will be able to, using the Deep Seven model, choose their personal quarters well in advance of it's completion! Very well in advance, in fact. By about five years.

Live music will be provided (albeit via broadcast for those not working in the Subterranean Lab) by our own enthusiast- but no less quality- band, The Band Down Under. They will be accompanied by former, but no less capable, professional songstress Henchperson #720943511.

Finally, everyone will be recieving a bottle of the champagne of their choice, from your respective commissaries and cafeterias in addition to what will be served at the party. Please drink responsibly and be aware most hazardous labs will be in lockdown from 9:00pm ALT until 5:00pm ALT, 2015.

For a full list of labs that will be in lockdown, consult the intranet schedule.

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm quite confident 2015 will be an excellent year for Science and, to the hypothetical approval of my Mentor, Revenge.

Progress Continues!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Recovery Report and Inexplicable Dragon Age : Inquisition Review.

All is well!

Yes, your Director has returned. Tests have all confirmed that my brain is back to a pre-infection state.

First and foremost I would like to officially apologize to everyone I may have insulted or threatened with violence and death while under the influence of the infection.

Strawman Syndrome is a nasty beast, but thanks to our most noble scientists it is a beast we have put down like a rabid dog. Only without remorse at the necessity.

I hope all of you have had an excellent holiday celebration and would like to announce that, assuming we have the last of the infected staff is cured by New Year's Eve, we will be celebrating by providing the champagne gratis at your respective parties. Thank all of you for bearing with us during this latest trial.

As I recovered I was unable to attend to my usual duties and after a regrettable incident where I apparently attempted to recruit the other infected in a second bid to escape isolation and launch what would have been a tragic and rather embarrassing assault on an Inuit community, I was rightfully severed from access to Arketer Lab's Intranet.

Once again I have a deep gratitude for all those who managed my isolation.

Onwards to the trivial things I amused myself with while in isolation.

I was graciously provided with access to a modified copy of Dragon Age ; Inquisition (My own Christmas Present if you will) that did not require an internet connection to pass the time as the cure was applied and allowed to work. I must recommend this game. It is, without a doubt, the finest single-player MMORPG I have played yet.

Yes, despite the occasionally tedious resource gathering, the combat is entertaining and all fights except for the last more or less interesting. The story is not terribly dynamic, most characters respond in precisely the same way regardless of your dialogue options, but decisions can be made that do indeed greatly effect the epilogue at the end.

And for those of you who have not played Dragon Age 2, seemingly well regarded as the lazy scat-smelling nadir of the series, you will not suffer much for having missed out on it. In fact, by all accounts you would have suffered far more if you hadn't.

You will however, meet the protagonist of that series as part of the narrative here. You will even be able to make them look identical to the protagonist you didn't play.

This is my Champeen of Kirkall, for example. It looks just like the character I never played.
This game is indeed very entertaining allowing you to meet characters like...

Cassandra, easily the most understanding and accepting fantasy Christian (Andrastian) interrogator ever conceived of. She's very intelligent and idealistic when not angry, though when she is angry she is as principled and intelligent as a crazed hobo with a large knife. She is usually angry. Despite this she is extremely understanding if your character happens to be a gay elf in a relationship with a fantasy muslim (Qunari) spy. As are all the companions really.

Such scenes, regardless of their feasibility within the established lore, make the game truly remarkable. Also Freddie Prinze Jr. has done a brilliant job of imbuing The Iron Bull with charisma.

It really is spectacularly absurd though.

For my part I am playing as an excommunicated fantasy muslim Mage, romancing Cassandra. She's quite likeable a character- if functionally insane- and the fact it's an option is almost as funny as the Iron Bull romances.

Also she is apparently the only straight woman in the game so far as I can tell.

The game is a worthwhile addition to any library belonging to someone with sufficient time to expend on it.  Thank you to those who got it for me, it killed the time awaiting my sanity to return painlessly.

The ending battle of the game though is a bit of a disappointment. Almost as much of one as siding with the Mages in the storyline, whom are depicted as bitter idiots with the survival instincts of suicidal hamsters.

Progress continues.

Ah, and Henchperson #62- you're going to love the replacement arm. By all accounts it is as compared to a conventional prosthetic what a swiss army knife is to a cheese cutter.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Important Update. More From the Inbox and Merry Christmas or whatever the hell you want to call it.

The Strawman Syndrome crisis is resolved! More or less.

After a great deal of hard, hurried work by our resident geniuses we have managed to devise a cure for the infection that results in Strawman Syndrome.

Again, for security reasons, I cannot go into detail into how it works. Suffice it to say it can be manufactured in sufficient quantity in a rapid period of time in order to cure all afflicted parties.

Naturally, there has not been time for the usual necessary safety protocols in testing so I, and certain Henchpeople, have volunteered to be infected and have the cure tested upon us. At least three other wretchedly insipid smarmy bastards have been 'cured', which is excellent as I was THAT CLOSE to trying to get my authority reinstated for the purpose of having them thrown bodily out of Sky Lab.

As mentioned before, I am temporarily without authority as a practical security precaution while I deal with the infection. I don't mind, I fully understand and have rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to circumvent the symptoms intellectually.

Not that I expect to succeed where so many other brilliant minds have failed.

Still, as an exercise I have decided to answer some messages from the inbox. First up, we have this tedious bastard.

Director Arketer :

Godspeed, Sir. Your efforts to deal with this attack rapidly and efficiently are not unappreciated. Has there been any new news regarding what party is responsible for this?

There really is no call for that. I've done my best, we all have. That there were subsequent outbreaks at additional locations was the result of attacks being perpetrated at those locations rather than any failure to respond to the first outbreak adequately, there was no cross-traffic between infection sites.

In fact, this revealed that our attackers didn't know the location of several other sites, which is rather good news. All simulations suggest they would have struck all simultaneously if they could have. It's very easy to be critical from the sidelines, but I do not sincerely believe we could have been any more efficient.

Also, how dare you mock our uncertainty over the perpetrators of this attack. If this is the work of the Order, as implied, that we aren't certain is perhaps the most damning piece of circumstantial evidence. If YOU'VE learned anything more, by all means forward the information to your site's Sub-director.

I'm starting to get rather cross. Perhaps it's time for a comedy inoculation.

I've seen this one before and I have to say, this time it seemed almost a mockery of the way I walk. That I can recognize the absurdity of this thought tells me it has had the desired effect though, as did re-reading the previous inbox letter. Henchperson, while I am still clearheaded, your support is appreciated. I may be a vain moderate megalomaniac, but the well-being of my employees is as important to me as my own. I believe I answered your question otherwise, however not in the most appropriate tone.


I have to say I am not pleased with your failure to keep to a schedule with your blog. I understand you were facing something of a crisis, but when one comes to expect an update at a regular time and then goes without the better part of a week without seeing one, it's frustrating and discourages further attention.

I suspect the comedy has worn off with alarming rapidity. I keep rereading this and every time it seems like you are sincerely bothered by an infrequency of blog updates while a potential catastrophic infection threatened to destroy Arketer Labs and kill untold employees. Oh ho, yes, I get it, you no doubt are referring as well to other missed deadlines during which there presumably were no such crisis. Well, you self-assumed omnipotent asshat, how about YOU launch a clandestine organization devoted to uniting some of the finest minds in the world towards the purpose of furthering Humanity itself, to turn Science Fiction into Science Fact, and THEN keep up a meticulous update schedule for something no one sees as anything other than something akin to some angsty Teenager's bad poetry blog! I am signing violently at #0 for you to be fired immediately but they're just shaking their head at me from the other side of the observation window.

Smug bemasked daftard.

I am properly irked now. Taking some deep breaths... Going to close my eyes for a bit and then partake of some proven mediating humor...

Much better. I find this funnier than most as I understand it. Not quite hilarious, hah hah, but it sticks with you nicely. Impossible to take it the wrong way... Probably because it seems impossible to take the right way. If there is a right way.


Ok. Well. Still a bit irked, but I will grudgingly, seethingly yield you have a point. I perhaps could have kept to schedule. Though in the present context it would hardly seem to be important to do so.


I am glad #0 isn't listening to me at the moment, or so help me I would probably have something done to you I would surely regret once the cure is applied.

Next and final.

Director Arketer,

This is my first year here and I am not sure I understand what the policy is so far as holidays are concerned. I know there is a party planned, but I have noticed that it hasn't been stated what we are celebrating. Is Christmas verboten?

Oh Wah Wah Wah. Why is it so damnably important the annual celebration be called what YOU call it. Do you have ANY idea how much hassle we've gotten over Christmas parties? Highly intelligent people, GENIUSES, who will wet their standard-issue underthings over the annual Christmas party being called the Christmas Party, because it's Christian and they're Athiest and it should be called the Solstice party. So FINE we call it a Solstice party, and next thing you know we've got a bunch of angry Christians asking why they can't call the Christmas Party the Christmas Party anymore. Strangely the Jewish employees are mostly tolerant either way though we have had the odd one demanding Hanukkah parties and one person demanded Kwanzaa parties and really that many parties was just so VERY excessive.

So yes, it's the Christmas Party, deal with it. It's also the Solstice Party, and the Kwanzaa Party and the Hanukkah party and the BLOODY PASTAFARIAN SAUCESTICE! Call it what you like, and everyone else will too. It just will NOT be written down and no matter what it is called NO ONE is allowed to 'correct' anyone else.

Just get over it and try not to trip over the various related religious icons and decorations. I admit it gets rather crowded with everyone trying to decorate even a rather large room with all of their respective holiday decorations. Kind of funny watching the Solstice advocates trying to come up with something to decorate with though. I don't think many people actually celebrate one of the coldest and darkest times of the year for it's sake alone.

I really don't want to keep at this, I don't like being angry. Being angry makes you objectively physically stupider, you know. Anger and fear, stupid. All these scum-sucking rage-a-holics out there would probably love this disease. Finally, they can make even LESS effort to learn ONLY AS MUCH as they have to to get REALLY ANGRY and then ignore any other details under the assumption they're filthy lies.

Just like that stupid stupid scandal over the Polish angsty video game on steam. "Hatred", I think it was called. Look it up, people all ranting that the game should be taken down because one of the developers hit 'like' on the wrong facebook page once and another one gave someone a tattoo of Mjolnir. What the hell is wrong with these people? Since when was that adequate evidence anyone was racist, much less a Neo-Nazi?!

You know what, I'm not doing any more reviewing. Have some Solstice Carols by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

The last one is particularly easy to sympathize with at present.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you. Wonder why the hell I bother. I CANNOT BE CURED FAST ENOUGH.

Progress continues, whinging jackasses.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stay Calm

Apologies for the delays in 'updating'. Your complaints were received but not read until recently. Admittedly my priorities have been greatly rearranged as of late.

I would like you first to understand that everything will be quite fine.

To address some rumors going around:

1. Yes, there have been further outbreaks of Strawman Syndrome at ALLPs 2 and 4 as well as Sky Lab.

2. There have been injuries, but there have been no fatalities and only one lost limb. Latter incident occurred at Sky Lab where a conflict between an infected and uninfected employee escalated to the point the infected employee misappropriated a high-powered cutting laser. The injured henchperson will be eligible for our prosthetic replacement program once cured of their infection.

3. We have yet to discover a cure for the infection, but do have leads that are promising.

4. We do not yet know the perpetrator, but given recent events believe this to be a petulant act by the Order over discussing their latest 'project'.

5. All outbreaks are contained. All present infected individuals have been secured in their quarters and have been provided with intranet forum access. All communication is strictly between infected individuals via the intranet forum which is moderated in an effort keep all discussions suitably cyclical and away from resulting in unification against a common 'foe'.

6. There was indeed a close call before this where a group of infected had managed to find 'common ground' in disdain for the Inuit peoples over the killing of seals. A group of them began to plan out a means by which to dispatch a reprogrammed autonomy-capable exosuit to 'kill any blubber-eating bastards that even look at one of those cubs'. This was prevented well before the plan could be executed.

7. The means by which the infections were introduced HAS been discovered and dealt with. While we cannot yet cure the infected, there should be no further risk of outbreaks among us so long as established protocols are maintained.

8. There is a possibility a strain of this infection has been introduced to the general public according to the correlation between online posting habits of our infected and those found on other forums. This has not been confirmed however, it could just be there are that many naturally-occurring idiots out there.

9. While there is no cure, certain treatments that have been shown to temporarily alleviate symptoms and some methods have been discovered that circumvent them entirely. While I cannot go into detail on the latter for security reasons, in regards to the former I can tell you that exposure to comedic material devoid of political agenda has- in most cases- overwhelmed the afflicted's outrage responses to the point they eventually calm down for a period of time, during which they prove to be more rational. I have linked a particularly effective piece below.

Finally it remains vital that if you suspect you may infected, or suspect you may be seeing signs of infection in others, that you report it immediately.

Progress continues, stay calm and we will see this resolved.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Strawman Syndrome and Strange Coincidence

Progress continues.

Just... not where I would like it to be continuing.

We are under attack by someone who is being insanely reckless with a biological weapon. Auxiliary Lab and Listening Post 1 has been shut down, Containment and Zone Security Specialist Squad 2 (CZSSS 2: Crazy With a Vengeace) initiated lock-down procedures without opposition. Unfortunately all members who entered the facility did so before the source of our present problems was identified and thus have been exposed to the contagion.

What we know so far:

At some point over the past two weeks a henchperson at ALLP #1 was infected with a- presumed engineered- microbe. Said microbe, while not truly airborne, aerosolizes extremely easily. It appears to die and decay rapidly when it comes in contact with anything that cannot be a potential host.

Once infected, an individual seems to suffer gradually increased auditory and visual hallucinations where they, instead of hearing or seeing what others have said or typed, perceive instead offensive comments apparently designed to lead into argument and conflict. No violence between personnel has yet been observed, but threats of it abound and there has been considerable property damage.

The health of the infected thus far does not appear to be degrading, which is good, but absolutely no work has been pursued at the facility since the outbreak. Up until the shutdown was initiated, all employees had begun keeping to their quarters to argue angrily via our Intranet with themselves and others.

Bizarrely, as the infection progressed, the victims began to form a gang of sorts on said intranet. Hostile as they may have been to each other initially they had begun to coordinate with each other to shout down any other henchpeople working in other facilities who attempted to step in and call for calm or self-moderation. This further lead the afflicted to find common ground, proving strangely capable of perceiving each others comments accurately when they were both negative and directed at a third party.

Unification through collective disdain, if you will.

Unfortunately this further led to a trend of arguing that hostility to mentioned third parties was inevitably insufficient to 'deal' with them. It is suspected that unchecked, this would have progressed to extremism.

We were only made aware of this microbe thanks to the actions of three different henchpeople who in early stages must have suspected this was the work of a contaminant and ran samples of their own blood through an automated analyzer in the lab. Commendations will be made once a cure is found.

Until a more scientific name is decided upon, we have decided to call the result of infection "Strawman Syndrome" given that the afflicted are uniformly incapable of discussing anything without the use of these flawed persuasive tactics.

Our experts on all matters connected to infectious diseases have been reallocated from their projects (under complaint in some cases) to determine an effective treatment. On-site treatment teams and all CZSS squads have been issued advanced Level A hazmat suits and related equipment in order to deal with any further outbreaks as well as to safely attend to the present outbreak.

If you or anyone you know has become inexplicably surly, or appears to be responding to things you have not actually said or typed, it is of critical importance that you report it immediately. I know some of you will be tempted to ignore it to avoid losing progress on your given projects, but I can only assure you that much more progress will be lost when you find yourself driven to an irrational spite that leads to destruction of your own work or that of your peers.

I am happy to report that there has been no real physical harm to any of our people thus far.

In other news regarding the creatures that 'attacked' the Deep Seven nanite swarm, Researcher #83 has found music in asian media, of all things, that has some similarities to the 'song' the creatures apparently use to organize or communicate.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Troubling Developments.

Progress continues.

However there seems to be a new development.

At ten AM yesterday contact was lost with Auxiliary Lab and Listening Post #1.

The reason for the loss of contact was willful destruction of the facility's communication equipment by, it would seem, the ALLP#1 communications specialist themselves. This was in direct response to the daily check-in conducted by the Central Lab.

Transcript as follows- the language is quite crude, be warned.

Central Lab : Good morning ALLP 1! Anything to report?

ALLP#1       : The fuck did you just say?

CL                : ... Good morning? I'm... not reading any interference on my end. Are you?

ALLP#1       : "I can't believe you're too stupid to pick up on my sarcasm." (said in a mocking tone) The fuck I am! Asshole, everyone around here is putting words in my mouth and then having the nerve to insist I'm doing it. I've had it up to here. So just calm the hell down and do your fucking job, radio jockey.

CL                :  Is there a problem ALLP 1?

ALLP#1       :  "Don't you know who I am? I'm going to get you fired for this, peasant." The HELL you will, I quit! I don't need to put up with this shit. I have no idea what crawled up all your asses and died but- No, you know what- I don't need to listen to this any more. *sounds of something being picked up*

CL                : ALLP 1? Come in ALLP 1.

ALLP#1       : *sounds indicating violent impact with a microphone, smashing noises and then silence.*

The Communications room of any given facility is almost a formality in our modern hyper-connected world, so the natural next step was to study the facility's security camera footage remotely. What we've seen is perplexing. At present all of my employees at ALLP#1 are basically confining themselves to quarters. Whenever they encounter each other arguments break out immediately, though before violence occurs they have thus far stormed away from each other instead.

It would seem our conflict resolution courses have not fallen entirely on deaf ears.

Meanwhile they are not out of communication even within their quarters. There has been a massive surge in unacceptable behavior on our secure intranet forum. Endless uncivil, cyclical arguments.

By all appearances no one is addressing what the other is actually saying but quoting their opponents as saying something else entirely- something usually both hostile and inane. All parties involved refuse to acknowledge the falsity of their own quotes while attacking or complaining about those used by others. If it sounds confusing, it is. Very.

All false quotes an individual makes are treated as valid by that individual no matter how divorced from the original meaning of their opponent's text.

In short, it's the text equivalent of what happened during the check-in. And if you saw the last update, #0 informs me that this is the same ALLP where the complaint about a hostile coworker came from.

Investigations are underway. Fortunately whatever is going on, be it a morale issue or infectious horrible argumentation, it is still confined.

All henchpeople reading this, please stay calm. I can promise you that every possible effort will be made to ensure the safety of our people in ALLP #1.

Finally, I am happy to report that all Finax products have been deemed safe and whatever it is going on it has absolutely nothing to do with Witch Sugar or- egh- Witch Saturated Fats.

All Finax products will be made available to facility cafeterias and commissaries again as soon as is practical.

Monday, December 8, 2014

More From the Inbox.

Progress continues!

Some peculiar messages from the inbox today.

Director Arketer

I am presently serving in one of our listening posts and am finding a peer increasingly difficult to deal with. Specifically, I will say something to them and they will go silent a moment before- for want of a better word- bristling with offense before replying in a hostile and unkind manner to things I have not said.

Now, when I say I am saying something- I do not mean I am calling them names and criticizing. Let me give you an abbreviated dialogue. M: Shall be Me, P: Shall be said Peer.

M: Good morning!

P: What makes you think your morning is so much better than mine?

M: I... didn't say that.

P: How dare you say I am too stupid to tell what you mean with your snide comments!

M: Is something wrong?

P: Accusing me of mental illness now? Ugh, go die in a fire.

That was the first and most memorable incident. Every interaction since has followed a similar pattern. This is not a personal grudge, they have been behaving the same to almost everyone except the sub-director thus far, but even then they seem to tremble with offense.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. That is troubling behavior. Yours was not the only such complaint from your Listening Post and Auxiliary Lab and I intend to look into the issue. I would hypothesize that they are having some sort of personal crisis. I hope to have a discreet inquiry launched.

Director Arketer,

I must object to the removal of my favorite cereal from all cafeterias over what is very clearly a typo. Surely you do not seriously believe they are using 'witch sugars' and 'witch saturated fats' in their goods? How long will it take to correct this absurdity?

For the record, I do sympathize with your annoyance and yes I can see how that seems a bit absurd. However if you knew what Witch Sugars and Witch Saturated Fats were I think you might understand our caution a bit better. Even now some of our best chemical analysts are running tests to determine if said products are perfectly safe at which point your cafeteria will be resupplied. If anything we may be overconfident in not having launched an immediate health screening of all employees potentially exposed to the product.

I can only ask for everyone's patience as we do our best to ensure everyone's health and safety in as minimally intrusive manner as possible.


I for one really like this little blog of yours and would encourage you to keep up with it. Us on the ground here rarely get to hear what their boss-of-bosses thinks about any given thing. Betcha this is true of most organizations but especially ones of our more secretive nature.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you for your support, though I would like to discourage too many messages like these. They can be very hard to distinguish from brown-nosing and no one worthwhile should appreciate the latter.

Not that there have been many messages like these. In fact, yours is the first and only.

So. Thanks.

Progress continues.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Witch Sugars? In MY Mysli?

It's more likely than you think.

Thank you, unnamed Henchperson for reporting this. Until confirmation that this was in fact a typo is obtained, all Finax products will be removed from Arketer Labs facility cafeterias and commissaries.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deep Seven : #14 Followed by Unrelated Minutia.

Progress continues!

The basic framework of Deep Seven has been outlined by the nanite cloud. Now, this is of course the first and mildest of milestones as we are still years from completion, but it is nevertheless a milestone. I intend to inform the observation team of my continued appreciation shortly. Especially given that there have been no further problems with equipment misuse.

There has been indication that the site is being observed by the unusual creatures that attacked it. While no visual contact has been made, their 'song' has been picked up occasionally.

Now, if you are keeping tabs on this for updates- that is the whole of it. Otherwise the nanite cloud continues to work tirelessly and amorphously as ever.

In other news I would like to personally like to thank the Sociology Minors who have sent in their theories, particularly the one with an inside lead on the present 'Fear Miasma' project.

Your links were as fascinating as they were troubling. I can only hope whoever is in charge of this truly knows what they are doing and I suspect there will be a great deal more needless bloodshed in any case.

No good comes from allowing zealotry to grow. It hardly matters which group it is in.

Fortunately those who have taken part can come back wiser for the experience, as this individual demonstrates.

Once Deep Seven is operational we might perhaps look into promoting rationality in the wider world, but in the meantime all that really needed to be said about the unpleasant nature of extremism has been said already.

It's a bit of a shame really, human nature seems to be such that people only pay attention to problems when they're emotionally charged. Yet, once you are emotionally charged you are very unlikely to be in any condition to actually solve any manner of complex problem. Especially given that almost all the facts are being distorted by people on rage highs looking for their next hit. In this fashion, the people most afflicted with this feed off of each other and only ever get worse-

A problem greatly exacerbated with the ease in which echo chambers form on the internet.

Ah well.

Progress continues.