episodes

48 – Skirmish

in which a grand battle is recapped, dragons or something, Corin counts his supporters, the Festival of Everything is Okay, We Promise is recapped, preparations are made for the Celebration of Oh Hell, Who Gives a Shit, we have no idea who “wins” the Ruin-A-Life Drawing, and the rebel gets rebranded. Do Evil Better.

Transcription:

What you are about to hear is a battle song recalling exaltant victories and devastating losses.

Hello, and welcome to yet another set of Kakos Industries corporate shareholders announcements, brought to you by me, Corin Deeth III, from our makeshift studio here in Junior’s lair. For those of you who might have been legally brain dead last time around, Junior is…

Junior: Just say it!

He’s a giant genetic monster we keep here in Kakos Industries. We are currently taking stock or our remaining resources, and treating our injured. There was a battle, shareholders. There was a big and ugly battle. We had far more supporters than we imagined, but they were just not enough. I suppose I’ll get to that more in a few minutes.

This broadcast is coming to you from your Shareholders’ Emergency Radio Receiver System Number 13. Number 27 last time, and now 13? This mystery grows deeper. Much like the last time you heard from me, this radio was already in your possession. I don’t know what my grandfather would say knowing that I’ve already used two of the emergency radios, and untold numbers are on the horizon. I will see to it myself that they are replaced, just as soon as this mess is over. This radio is like the last one, but it comes in a delightful watermelon color. It should also have large numerals indicating that this is radio 13. If you’re hearing this broadcast on any other numbered radio, then something is wrong. I’m not threatening you this time. I don’t have to. You see, if you’re receiving this broadcast on one of the other radios, then there is already a large disturbance in space time around you. This is almost certainly more dangerous than anything we in this resistance cell have the energy to do to you. I am told we just lost one of our top scientists in the Division of Incredibly Boring Things. He succumbed to his bite injuries. Let’s take a moment of silence, shareholders.

The Festival of Everything is Okay, We Promise went about as well as you would imagine. It happened to fall in between several of our strategy discussions, so spirits were not exactly high. But we all did a wonderful job of lying to each other. Junior has a bunch of bean bag chairs down here. It’s not really clear why. We huddled in these bean bag chairs and told each other that we knew everything would be fine. That we were already fine. And then we sort of cried together. Like, a bunch of us cried in a group. Of course, in the cosmic scheme of things, everything is alright. It can’t be anything else. In the grand scheme of things, little actually matters. Some would say that nothing matters. Others argue that some things do matter, but then they have trouble explaining why. I’d like to think that knowing this was of some comfort. We took turns standing in front of everyone and stating something horribly negative about our experiences in the present. Like, this cave is dark. We haven’t seen the sun much recently. Maybe we’re becoming mole people. Death might be coming to all of us soon, and in really unpleasant ways. And then we would rationalize. Everything is okay. Pain is always fleeting, is it not? We managed to muster up some chill from this. It’s helped to get us along for now. Some of us.

Coming up, we have the Celebration of Oh Hell, Who Gives a Shit. The gentleman who handed me this information moments ago, then saw fit to just sort of lie down on the ground beside me. Maybe he’s dead. Can you die of sadness? I’m not sure. That seems like something I should know. Excuse me sir, are you dead? He’s breathing. But now he’s on top of one of my shoes. He’s wrapped around my leg. Well, I guess I wasn’t going anywhere for a little while anyway. The note here says that at this Celebration, we will all stop giving a shit about everything, and hold hands as we wait for oblivion to take us. Did you want to hold my hand or did you just want to wrap around my leg? Just softly humping for comfort. I think it would be best if we can find a way to cancel this festival. No, you’re fine, just get it out of your system.

I recognize that after last time’s announcements, there is a void in terms of the romantic narrative here in the Kakos Industries announcements. Unless you count going to war with what might ostensibly be a female version of yourself as romance. Before I get into that too much, I would like to maybe address some of the sexual tension here in Junior’s lair. There are two younger employees here who have been making eyes at each other. I think one is called Tim. Are you Tim? He’s nodding. And the other one is Kyle, right? Oh, I think I’ve embarrassed them, shareholders. They seem to be “good friends”, “bros” even. Come on, who’s going to judge you here, boys? It doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you like. It would brighten up all of our moods to see one happy couple. That’s a fake kiss if I’ve ever seen one. Passion, boys. It’s already there. I can see it. Just give in. Ah, there it is. People all around us are now applauding. Now, let’s see. Is there a group here who would make an excellent triad… This is a little bit more complicated for sure. Oh, it looks like some of the other employees down here are pairing off to reduce stress as well. What a chain reaction I’ve set off here. I do pride myself on the ability to see budding romances. It’s not something you put on your resume for Evil CEO, but it’s a miscellaneous skill all the same.

Soundman Steven has avoided the impulse to make out with his co-workers around him. Always professional. I thank you, Soundman. He’s working from a sort of makeshift setup we have here in Junior’s lair. There’s some soundproofing around me, but not what we have in the studio by any means. He is using his emergency mixer, which he apparently keeps in the trunk of his station wagon at all times. I will admit getting to his station wagon was only moderately easier than getting into our studio would have been, but it was a little easier all the same. We had some transmitting technology stored here in Junior’s lair as a precaution. There are a lot of ways to tap into our broadcasting tower, which makes it possible to get you these messages under such dire circumstances. It’s also what makes our signal so hijackable, I suppose. In addition to keeping our transmissions on track, Soundman Steven has brought his emergency modular synthesizer kit. He tells me that it was a reasonable price to assemble, maybe only 30,000 dollars. When we’re not broadcasting, he switches gears to provide us with some of the finest bleeps, screeches, filtered noise, and rhythmic womps we could hope for. It really sets the atmosphere down here. Dark. And cold. Vaguely moist. Junior’s lair is difficult to place inside of Kakos Industries if you’re not paying attention to the hallways and stairs and elevators it takes to get down here, but my best estimate is that we are actually deep in the ground, and then a little ways away from the building itself. We’re not in a basement, but perhaps a mine or natural cavern attached to a basement.

Shareholders, I would like to thank you for showing up in record numbers this week to the battle between the forces of Evil, and The Lady Kiarawa the Karawitch Belladonn Handelia’s other forces of Evil. She seems to be getting more and more names these days. Apparently there’s some sort of name-declension-type-thing that the Sudodilatese do when they reach the age of adulthood. Anyway, I’ve been instructed that I have to begin calling her Lady Kiarawa, or else I’m an insensitive asshat. Anyway, the battle, as many of you witnessed, was bloody, and awful, and Evil, and satisfying, but in an unsatisfying way, and now we have both retreated to handle our sick and injured. Well, our side has. It’s possible that Lady Kiarawa just threw her injured in a ditch. That might be an unfair characterization, but this is war. Propaganda is par for the course. Taking Junior’s ideas into account, we rounded up all of the miscellaneous Evil creatures, animals, and monsters kept in these depths of Kakos Industries, and took them to where the battle was supposed to take place. There was an awkward moment when Kiarawa’s forces met up with oursin the lobby of Kakos Industries, you know, our forces coming from below and hers from above. Later, Junior informed me that he does have a separate access tunnel that we could have used instead. Anyway we all just avoided eye contact until we got where we needed to be. Initially, it looked as though we had Kiarawa’s forces outnumbered vastly. We had bitewolves, unbearably cute monsters, hippopotami with body armor and rocket launchers, several weird genetic amalgamations, some of those things from Hell, Junior, and a dozen Dark Mega Turkeys, which are basically indistinguishable from regular turkeys. They weren’t much help, but we brought them anyway. Why not. Lady Kiarawa had amassed a number of our more impressionable employees, as well as some of the monsters we employ on the higher levels. It seems that some from within Kakos Industries felt that I was soft, and while Lady Kiarawa is undoubtedly too hard, they decided that she was a change in the right direction, or at the very least a change. You see, some people don’t understand the balancing act that is perpetuating Evil. Anyway, I’m digressing from the point. The battle was all but won, our spirits were high, there was excitement flowing through all of us. Then a few scientists on her side wheeled out The Contraption. You remember the contraption, that mechanical device that makes no sense whatsoever, yet has somehow kept me awake at night in fits of obsession? The device that seems to return random results, no matter what type of input you provide? Well, at first I thought she was just taking it out to taunt me. To distract me. To distract all of us, really. But something happened when it was exposed to sunlight. The seamless metal chassis began to crack. The monitor displayed a series of erratic and uncontrolled responses. And then, it exploded. I was shocked. How could she let such a thing happen? How could she let something so important, maybe, be destroyed like that. But what happened next is something very few of us could have predicted. Like Junior. He didn’t predict it.

Junior: Shut up. There is no way I could have predicted something so nonsensical.

Shareholders, those of you who couldn’t join us at the battle specifically, what emerged from the wreckage of that machine was at first a small, black glob. Like a formless glob. Partially transparent at first. We all watched in horror as it unfolded its body. Large, scaly legs took their first steps. A long snout breathed its first breaths. Several long tentacles groped at the air for the first time. And two large wings stretched out. Then, that horror began leaping from monster to monster among our ranks, eating everything it could, mashing and pulverizing en masse. Its muscles stretched and popped and grew with the inflow of nutrition, leaving us face to face with a giant, tentacled dragon. Or something. We’ve been going with Dragon for ease.

Lady Kiarawa rested a hand on the dragon’s snout when it finished its meal, our ranks dramatically reduced. It bowed to her. It actually bowed. Then, she pointed at our army. The horde of monsters attacked this dragon, biting it, cutting it, spraying it with acid, and shooting it with rockets, but nothing seemed to make a dent. The battle grew bloodier and bloodier. We took heavy casualties among the monsters, and those among our human troops were not much better. Something that might be obvious to you, depending on who you are, is that most of our employees have never trained for battle, or ever really been in a fight before, except maybe those in our several fight clubs, but that doesn’t mean that they know how to fight, just that they like it.

When it became apparent that our troops were no longer vastly outnumbering hers, I ordered a retreat. And now here we are, regrouping.

Junior: Corin.
Corin: What?
Junior: I think you owe me an apology, Corin.
Corin: For making you go outside? I’m sorry.
Junior: No. For not following my plan to the letter.
Corin: Your plan was to fight until one side or the other was dead.
Junior: It was more nuanced than that. And you deviated from the plan. We were so close to victory, Corin. If only you could have seen.
Corin: We really weren’t that close. That dragon thing was kicking our ass really bad.
Junior: Now you’ll never know. You’ll never know how genius my plan was. Things would have changed.
Corin: You were just hoping I would die, weren’t you?
Junior: It would have sustained me through the pain of packing to leave. You denied me that elation, Corin.
Corin: Junior… I’m sorry that I didn’t die.
Junior: Apology accepted. I have a new plan, Corin. You’ll probably survive it if you can avoid being an idiot for five minutes. Hahahahaha unlikely!
Corin: It’s going to have to wait, Junior. I just received an envelope from my grandfather.
Junior: What could that old fool possibly have to say that will help now?

He writes: “Corin, I have asked that this letter be delivered to you when you are facing an indefatigable foe. There are other letters for formidable foes, daunting foes, ominous foes, and foreboding foes. I wanted to leave you some words of encouragement. Foes like these are in the job description for being CEO at Kakos Industries. I had them, my predecessors had them, and whoever succeeds you will have them, assuming that we don’t figure out how to live forever through vitamins. I just wanted to tell you that, even though things might look dark now, you will overcome this problem. You have all of the tools you need within you. Do not blame those who stand against you. Chaos is part of our job, and many of them respect that above all else. Do not be surprised if they quickly change their tune when you strike back, or if many of them might harbor a secret desire to see you returned to power. If you’re feeling anxious, I would recommend finding someone to have sex with. That always did the trick for me, and Kakos Industries is never without willing bodies. Even though this opponent may be the darkest yet, you will succeed. Corin Deeth I”. That’s so sweet of him to say.

The man wrapped around my leg is now chewing lightly on my ankle. It’s a little unpleasant, for sure, but overall, I guess I’m okay with it. It’s better that we express our sorrow than be consumed by it. Thank you for keeping me grounded, nameless employee. Just remember that I will stomp on you if you bite any harder. That wasn’t an invitation to bite harder. Shit.

(There is a phone notification sound)

What’s this? I got a message from Kiarawa. Oh, no! It’s horrible. No one look at your phones. She sent it to all of us. Shareholders, I think I might throw up. (gag) It’s… Oh… It’s a picture of Lady Kiarawa kissing Maggie. I don’t… I don’t know how looking at one couple can fill us all with so much joy, but looking at another can fill us with so much sadness. Everyone, block this number! She will not send us any more demoralizing photographs. This is objectively a sexy photograph, but holy hell does it make me want to die.

Our spies inside the upper parts of the building have brought me some news. In my absence, Helena, our sentient security system turned sex and violence robot, took it upon herself to neutralize as many threats as possible. This is perhaps the first time I’ve been happy to hear that. I’m not saying that the lives of those living and working above right now are forfeit when I regain control, but I’m not exactly opposed to their suffering right now. They should know who to back in times like these. I don’t have the exact number on the casualties, but they were able to subdue Helena. I’m not sure if she’s been shut down, or if that’s even a possibility, so she might just be locked up. It would have to be a pretty serious prison to keep her from escaping, though. In addition to her numerous sexual tools, her body is also equipped with lasers and probably a handful of missiles. I don’t know for sure. I haven’t heard anything about Dr. Dunkelwissen, so many of her secrets are likely safe. If I know him, and I can’t say that I really do all that well, he is probably still in his lab, totally ignoring this conflict. I hope that Helena is okay. I find her antics annoying and tragic, yes, but she’s on our team and that’s what matters right now.

Most of the executive board has taken the other side. The Exectopode. They prefer Kiarawa for some reason. Her excessive violence makes their Evil glands swell, or something. That being said, I am holed up down here, and as we all know, I’m on the executive board. I support myself, so that counts for something. Also, I understand that I have the support of Iele Solomonari. Sort of. Her exact words were, “I’m sure this will all blow over soon and I hope you don’t get too upset that my daughter has set her sights on the sexual conquest of your enemy.” Hailey is apparently trying to have sex with Kiarawa. That’s okay, I guess.

We still haven’t heard from Grace. Our spies indicate that she hasn’t been in to work in a while. I feel for her shareholders. I’m not sure I would have behaved any differently than she has. It would be an enormous comfort having her here, but we will be able to continue without. In addition to the half support of Iele Solomonari, our Chief Risk Officer, there’s a lot of people down here. I can’t say for certain that they knew which side they were choosing when they followed me, or if they were just trying to avoid the improvised explosives that Kiarawa set, but I am happy they are here all the same. We have staff from the Division of Incredibly Boring Things, the Division Sexual Experimentation, the Division of Insurmountable Fear, and even a handful of accountants. Felix Moloch is down here from the DIF. He’s definitely the calmest person here. And that’s just the people I recognize, of course. There are many others. Some of them might have just wanted the time off. Others might feel the need to support me. Others were probably moments from being overworked and this is what passes for hope right now. I got a brief message from Dirk saying that he would be sending some Giant-Ass Robots to our aide as soon as he can get a free moment.

We have gotten back in contact with the people in Hell. It seems that they have avoided the worst effects of this situation. They are not exactly close to our operations here, so it is easy for them to slip by unnoticed. They are on guard, in case Kiarawa’s forces make their way over there. I will say that Hell is so difficult to live in that fighting in it would be seriously disadvantageous for any invading forces. Several new waves of settlers have come and gone since we last checked in. The prisoners in Hell are largely okay, though. They tell me that some of the settlers have begun to capture and sell the monsters from down below. They have gathered quite the group of Hell monsters and they have told us that they will send us as many of the monsters from Hell as they can wrangle to support our war effort. I hope it does not come to that, so I’ve asked them to use those monsters to strengthen their defences.

As the head of Kakos Industries, Kiarawa has done so much Evil, but what I was not expecting to hear is that she pressed the button to destroy our underwater location, sometimes known as Kakolantis, and other times known as Prosperiana. We installed some explosives at the beginning of our experiment down there. Or at least I thought we did. We may have skipped that part, feeling certain that they would all ruin each others’ lives without a need for that. Or the wires rotted, or maybe they found the explosives and disarmed them. At any rate, they seem to be okay despite her pressing the button. I am told that she is combing through the records for projects that I care a great deal about in hopes to find more to end abruptly. I’ll keep my lips sealed on that matter for now.

I cannot say who won the Ruin-A-Life Drawing this week, but I can say who their target was. It appears that one of our supports here has been made permanently chalky. Like their skin is just covered in chalk. Or maybe they sweat chalk, or something. I tried to catch the Damnation and Ruination Squad before they left, but they were in a hurry, and pretended not to speak English. I will remember that. In terms of things we’re taking credit for, I will take credit for this burgeoning romance that has quickly gotten quite physical maybe twenty feet from me. I’m not sure it’s Evil yet. We’ll make it Evil later, perhaps. Do it more Evilly, guys.

And this brings us to the end of our broadcast. I wish that I had better news for you shareholders. There may be another skirmish between our forces and those of Lady Kiarawa, but I have little hope for a different outcome. Not while they have a fucking dragon. It has come to be my belief that we cannot afford any more casualties. These people huddled around this cavernous basement are some of the finest Evil specialists in all of the world. We cannot afford to lose them. Evil cannot afford to lose them, even if that means that they have to go to work for someone else. We will have to begin new tactics that are not quite so heavy in terms of casualties. I cannot say more than that at this time, because I have a dark suspicion that Kiarawa is listening to everything I say. In that case, I will say that you are going down, Karawitch. Or I am. We’ll see. In the latter case, it has been a pleasure being your CEO, shareholders. In the former case, I will speak to you next time. I suppose there’s a chance we manage to destroy each other and create a power vacuum so strong that it destroys Kakos Industries as well. Let’s hope for not that one. I would ask for your thoughts and prayers, except we all know that thoughts and prayers don’t do anything at all. The man around my ankle shows no signs of letting go. I might need a crowbar. Oh… he’s asleep. We should let him rest. He will need his strength when his punishment comes.

Junior, would you like to finish the broadcast?

Junior: Numbers?
Corin: That’s correct.
Junior: Hmmm… Here goes. 2.
(Pause)
Corin: Heaven.

Kakos Industries is written and produced by Conrad Miszuk, who is also the voice of Corin Deeth. The music is also composed by Conrad Miszuk. The introduction is read by Kim Aiello, and the credits are read by Hanna Jones, who is currently wrapping a present. Check out KakosIndustries.com for more episodes. There’s also transcriptions if you’d rather read the Kakos Industries announcements. That’s K-A-K-O-S-I-N-D-U-S-T-R-I-E-S dot com. Please check out store.KakosIndustries.com for merchandise and special offers. Questions, comments, or a strong desire to collaborate? Drop us a line at inquiries@kakosindustries.com. If you like Kakos Industries, be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting service, and connect with us on Facebook (facebook.com/kakosindustries), Tumblr (kakosindustries.tumblr.com), and Twitter (@KakosIndustries).

If you’re feeling down after this broadcast, have you considered that I might not be a reliable source of advice?

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