141 – Novel Approaches
in which the Kakos Industries staff work tirelessly to make progress with the Matmos, Corin gets excited about Dragon Week, Kimmie gets Clarissa and Hedera drunk (again), and Chiara Benlontani “wins” the Ruin-A-Life Drawing. Do Evil Better.
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Ryan: What you are about to hear is spacious yet intimate.
Hello and welcome to the Kakos Industries Corporate Shareholder Announcements. At Kakos Industries, we help our clients to Do Evil Better. My name is Corin Deeth III and I am CEO of Kakos Industries. Shareholders, I hope these announcements find you well and at your very evilest. Last time we spent quite a bit of the announcements discussing the various factions within the Matmos and how they continue to harass me with various sorts of gifts and performances. I would love to say that this has stopped and we can all forget about it, but unfortunately, the bizarre occupation of our building by people affected by the Matmos goes on. For those of you who are new or otherwise don’t know what I’m talking about, the Matmos is the inky black substance that resides all around the Kakos Industries building and in the caverns below. We assume it exists elsewhere also, but we only have limited information in that regard. Kakos Industries is a fairly expansive presence, so it is not always clear where we do not exist. From what we understand, the Matmos is some kind of highly advanced archaea. It seems to be capable of thought, though only when present in large quantities. And it has been making itself more of a nuisance recently. It’s of no small interest to those of us in the administration of Kakos Industries how we managed to live so frictionlessly with the Matmos for so many years only to have it start causing problems now. We willingly allowed members of our staff to be joined with the Matmos thinking that it brought them important Evil insight. Children who were born or raised too close to Evil needed the Matmos as an important part of their developing nutrition. I suppose in hindsight I might think that this nutrition may have been less about consuming the Matmos and instead more about using the Matmos as some kind of probiotic. It does not appear that human digestive systems are capable of actually digesting the Matmos. It seems that very few monster digestive systems are capable of breaking down the Matmos, and the byproducts of that breakdown typically make those monsters sick. We have looked into the necessary chemicals to break down the Matmos just in case, and the resulting chemical reactions would likely leave Kakos Industries uninhabitable for months and pretty smelly after that time. So this is not the direction we are currently going. I do have some developments that will be of interest to you, but we will get to those shortly.
Today’s broadcast is coming to you from a sonic ooze. Yes, this is a red, opaque ooze that is capable of reproducing sound when the right signal is applied to it. You should have received a small sample jar of the red ooze and you should have opened that sample jar at the appropriate time. If you leave the lid on the jar, the sound will be muffled and we cannot be held responsible for any information that you do not receive if this is the case. The sonic ooze comes to us from a collaboration between our Division of Oozular Research and Regina’s Slime. My understanding is that Regina runs a popular storefront for selling all kinds of goop, and we brought in her expertise to figure out how to make this sonic slime more presentable. The DIvision of Oozular Research is… well they’re conducting research into certain oozes of note. You can probably imagine what I’m talking about. Before you begin to panic, no, this ooze is not derived from the Matmos or anything like it. It is completely synthetic. Certainly it shares some properties with the Matmos, but that is entirely coincidental. I am told that this ooze has a relatively high quality and flat frequency response up to around 10 kilohertz, where the slew rate of the liquid begins to interfere with its ability to produce higher frequencies. There is some distortion as a result of this, but we are told future iterations may use a thinner liquid that can move faster. At any rate, these announcements are strictly for Kakos Industries shareholders. If you are not a Kakos Industries shareholder, then you had better do something Evil quick to become a shareholder. Otherwise, this ooze may begin to affect your ability to think rationally. It has a certain hypnotic quality, does it not?
The Festival of Darkness was a smash success as always. We began by welcoming any of you who would join us down into the basement ballroom, which had been isolated from all light and thermally insulated against infrared as well. This year, we weren’t satisfied to leave our shareholders in the darkest space we could put them in. We needed it to be metaphorically darker. At the appropriate time, we began misting the space with a psychoactive compound known for enhancing and exaggerating feelings of worry and obsessiveness. You may argue that this is a particularly nasty thing to do to people on our team, and we admit that freely. You do know who we are, correct? That being said, we don’t like to cause discomfort to the Evil unless there’s a really important reason, and this time we had that. It’s not enough to be in darkness as far as light is concerned. We needed to experience the darkness within ourselves when that candle of hope was not just extinguished but entirely missing. We needed to experience the darkness of our desperation, of our guilt, of our fear, and we needed to live there. We needed to see how dark it could be. In fairness, it was way too dark, and we likely won’t do that again just because the therapy bills have been too expensive, but overkill is still a success.
The Festival of Genes involved flavors this year. I know many of you were cautiously intrigued by the prospect, and it was something to be experienced to be sure. There are a lot of common flavors that can be produced in mass by biological organisms when given the right nudge. These potent carbon ring molecules. They’re responsible for a variety of the common flavorings you encounter in candy. Well, I think you know where this is headed. Many of you came down to our headquarters and were willingly dosed with some of gene constructs and within hours, you started to taste funny. At best, a lot of human tastes and aromas are neutral. They don’t jive with our modern standards of propriety at all times, but they are not inherently harmful, and in the right context perfectly appreciated. All of this goes out the window when human beings start to taste and smell like concord grape, or sour apple, or tutti frutti. Some of the flavors were a bit more unusual, like durian and other obscure fruits and spices. Initially, this experience was intriguing. I remember watching one person lick one of their own arms and then another because somehow they were producing two different flavor profiles. One thing I need to acknowledge here at the start is that the people affected by these genetic modifications were not producing sweetness. They were only producing flavor. We had to add sweetness if that’s what we were after. The production of sugars is necessarily energy intensive and not something the human body is cut out to doing en masse, and we also felt like it was better not to add fermentable sugars to parts of the human body that might, you know, ferment them. So the flavor experience was complicated by this inherent dryness of all of the flavors. Still, many people were entertained for hours, after which the gene modification began to wear off. There was one other gene construct that we had available, but it was mixed in with all of the flavors. I am told this modification was titled “skinny thick” and it certainly challenged the way we know human bodies to be. The Division of Genetics needed to test this construct out for some reason, I’m told, so we let them do it. It’s a look. Some people really like it. It’s a little hard to describe, or maybe I just don’t want to.
Coming up, we have the Shareholders’ Ball! I know that I don’t have to tell you too much about it because you will be there one way or another. That being said, we have arranged some incredible entertainment and some outstanding gustatory experiences.
We also have the Celebration of the Moon coming up. The note here says, “Let’s do some Damn-Your-Soul Witchcraft.” Now, Kakos Industries has never been able to prove the existence of a soul or anything of that nature. As far as we can tell, damnation is impossible in the classical sense. That being said, there is something so exhilarating about attempting black magic, even though it doesn’t exist and doesn’t work. There’s a boundary that is transgressed by these actions, and that feeling is palpable. Come on down, and we’ll do something weird in honor of the moon.
The situation with the Matmos has not really improved much since I last spoke to you. We were unable to stop the people in the magenta cloaks, those belonging to The Princess, from bringing me dead animals, so we just sort of tasked a team with following them around and doing their best to scare the animals away. They’ve also been disarming traps. It’s expensive, and a pain in the ass, but I like it a whole lot better than I like shoeboxes filled with exploded pigeons. The people in the ever so slightly purple cloaks who supposedly belong to Buddy continued to get thinner as we monitored them. It seems like they might eat when they are closer to their preferred pool of Matmos, but when they are out and about like this, they forget. We are determining that there may be some limits to Matmos intelligence and those limits probably have something to do with how much total Matmos there is, like individual cells, or whatever the smallest unit of the stuff might be, to work together to make thinking networks. Not wishing to see these people waste away before us, we were able to get them to eat by turning it into a game. We challenged them to see how much calorie paste they could eat and it was on. So they’re starting to look a bit healthier. Still, it speaks to a certain negligence on behalf of Buddy. I asked Clarissa and Hedera, my supposed liaisons to the Matmos, if they could shed any light on this, and they basically said that they had heard rumors but had never seen anyone starve. Sometimes people disappear from even the groups who live with the Matmos. (pause) Yes, Soundman, there are also the people with the cat ears. I wasn’t going to forget. I have them right here on my notes. So what if I’m uncomfortable? I’m allowed to be uncomfortable. Right. Shareholders, there have been some people who are dressed in cloaks with cat ears. Like, cat ears built right into the hoods. I suppose they could be other kinds of ears, really. But they seem like cat ears. These people are also not particularly vocal, but they do bring me flowers and then they roll around on the ground like animals. Sometimes, they’ll try to get in my lap if I’m sitting. One time, I saw one of them playing with a roll of yarn, which seemed a bit like they were trying too hard to sell the image, you know? I already got the point. I didn’t need that. We did what we did before. We captured as many of them as we could. We pulled back their hoods and attempted to identify them using our records. We were able to identify a few from various divisions. They aren’t all from one place, and they aren’t all the same age. But they do all pretend to be animals and that’s weird. Clarissa and Hedera told me that these people belong to Paws. They then told me that Paws is adorable. I’ve since seen them playing with the cat people. They really like them for some reason.
So we’ve needed to do some science and try to figure out ways of handling this Matmos issue. From what we can tell, there isn’t a whole lot of premeditation in the behavior of these groups, but they are a nuisance and it’s always possible that they are working on a level we don’t exactly understand. Things could go super wrong at any moment. And that’s not a healthy way to live. The board wanted to see if they could make any progress with the hooded figures during a meeting. I told them this was a fool’s errand, but they insisted, so we got a bunch of them together in a meeting. Clarissa, Hedera, and a handful of people in each cloak. Before the meeting could even start there was screaming, and then the various groups started to fight, and we had to evacuate. It appears that there was no reasoning to be done there.
We are trying to develop a way to communicate with the Matmos without having to invite it in and become compromised by it. We know that the liquid somehow has a way of communicating, whether it’s through electrical signals or whatever else. We know that our brains seem to be able to directly interface with the stuff. So there is some research being done into ways to create that interface without having the Matmos within us. We’ve been able to dry out some of the Matmos using a process that leaves a crystalline form of the stuff. We’ve compressed that a number of different ways to see if those crystalline structures are capable of transmitting thought. There is clearly something missing, but the experiments have not been complete failures. Certain people in the test groups were able to communicate with something, but they said that the process was fuzzy. There wasn’t much information. There was a lack of clarity. It was difficult to know exactly what they were communicating with, or if the crystals were just somehow causing a hallucination. This is basically our only route forward, so we have to keep at it.
Inspired by the events from the last set of announcements, Kimmie has discovered a way to get information out of Clarissa and Hedera in a more reliable fashion. It turns out that they like to drink like college freshmen, and can handle their alcohol about as well. So Kimmie will bring a bottle of some sort of flavored vodka and in short order, Clarissa and Hedera will be divulging any number of secrets about the Matmos and about themselves. We detected an emotional immaturity in these two that we felt must come from having been assimilated at a young age. Kimmie was able to determine that Clarissa was an intern some time ago, though she kept changing which division she was interning with. Hedera had a family member work in the building, but she can’t remember what happened to them and we have not been able to piece together who that person was. There is evidence suggesting that both of them have been a part of the Matmos for over ten years. That would be pretty much their entire adult lives. This certainly puts some things into perspective. The idea that they drink like college freshmen rings differently when you think that they might have become members of the Matmos cult at around that age. So far what they’ve told us about the Matmos itself has been a little difficult to parse. They use metaphors that are difficult to understand, which might explain why they don’t talk about this stuff normally. It’s difficult to put into words when you’re used to just directly experiencing it. Kimmie asked them about the monsters, like Qurgurgurth. After they stopped crying about Qurgurgurth, who was apparently way more important to them than any of us realized, they admitted to only knowing a few of the others, and they were unsure how many there were. Kimmie showed them the scroll that they had provided us with some months ago. They pointed at the pictures of the so-called “lords” and named a few of them. There was Qurgurgurth, of course. Then there was Danelineon. That one has big horns on a mostly humanoid frame. Then there was Paws. They really just couldn’t say enough nice things about Paws. I think it’s the same Paws that the cat cloaks belong to. Paws looks like a big fluffy animal of unknown species. It’s cute in the drawing at least. I’m assuming it’s enormous. Then there was Mortagakh. It was a big worm-looking thing. They explained that the lords mostly kept to themselves, occasionally acquiring new attendants. The process wasn’t completely one-sided, with the lord sort of looking after their attendants. The lords all had their pet projects and missions that they would send their people out on. Sometimes they were very obviously for some purpose, other times they were incomprehensible, or embarrassing, or just foolish. But the symbiosis of living attached to one of these beings made it worthwhile. They are not made of Matmos, but they do use it and live with it in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Clarissa and Hedera were not aware of their true origins. After having the pair pass out from alcohol several times in the last month, Kimmie started to feel guilty. She is considering changing to a different substance, and has been holding off on any more interrogations in the meantime. Clarissa and Hedera have been apparently kind of disappointed about this.
We’ve also been looking into treatments for individuals infected with the Matmos. Some people would rather not have it in their system. For others, it is we who would rather they not have it in their system. So far, we have not figured out how the Matmos was removed from me. It is likely that the old woman was in communication with the Matmos inside of me and that’s how she got it out. So far, we have determined that the Matmos isn’t a huge fan of ginger, and some of our test subjects who have consumed a whole lot of ginger have managed to expel some amount of Matmos. They were not completely cured, but this is a promising lead.
The Division of Erotic Experiences has started work on a new product. This is partly because I insisted that they start working on something physical as opposed to something conceptual. They were really getting stuck, and we’ve all been there, but they needed a different kind of project. That being said, they couldn’t just make something simple. They had to aim big. They are currently working on a project that we are calling the Satisficer. It’s a swiss army knife of sex toys. It does everything for everyone. Or at least that’s the aim. No matter your anatomical configuration or your preferences, the Satisficer will be able to take care of you. I’ve seen some prototypes and sketches, and these devices are definitely unwieldy. Cumbersome. They are not sleek or elegant. They have functions, and you can tell. That being said, they’ve tested the devices on some willing participants and so far the feedback has been really positive. People are getting a lot of what they need from these devices. They will probably land somewhere short of giving everyone what they need, but I am encouraged that they have something that seems to be working for at least some people on their hands.
Shareholders, are you excited for Dragon Week? I know that I am. You might be wondering what exactly Dragon Week is, and that means that you haven’t seen any of the posters around the building. Dragon Week is the new event coming out of The Division of Kaiju Battle Reenactment. Now, dragons don’t actually exist, unfortunately, so these are definitely more in the “enactment” category, rather than the “reenactment” category. That being said, there are dozens of dragon fights scheduled throughout the week, with some of the fights occurring without warning somewhere inside of the Kakos Industries building. I am so excited for this event. It should be an amazing time. I just keep thinking about walking down the halls and then having a dragon fight break out in front of me. I just cannot think of a better break from the rest of my hectic schedule.
Recently, Grace suggested that I add a segment addressing some shareholder questions. It seems that there is some handwringing about how the Matmos is affecting public perception of what we do here at Kakos Industries. They think that fielding some questions from you, shareholders, may solve that problem. So I’ve got a question here. It asks, “where did Kakos Industries come from?” Wow. Um… That’s a complicated question. I, uh, I don’t think we have time to get into that right now. We might need a couple of historians also, and that last time we got Kakos historians together they almost murdered each other. I’m not sure this is a great idea, Grace. At the very least, we need to filter for some easier questions. Let’s move on.
It is time for us to spotlight another one of our amazing employees here at Kakos Industries. Today, we want to acknowledge Doraline Effly. I am told that Doraline has the magic touch when it comes to hitting electronics to make them work again. We’re not sure exactly how she does it, but just about any time something goes wrong, someone calls Doraline and she hits whatever the machine is, and there’s a seventy-five percent chance that the problem resolves itself right then and there. Doraline has repaired three thousand machines this way. Somehow. Thank you for your hard work, Doraline.
The Division of Figuring Out What All of These Keys Go to has opened a jar of mixed nuts. They used the edge of the key to loosen the lid. They tell me in this one instance, this counts. They have it on some authority that this is actually what the key was designed for. Well, okay.
They say that Evil once replaced all of the nice toilet paper with the cheap toilet paper and didn’t tell anyone. This is Things We’re Taking Credit for Now. Today, we are taking credit for big cats, bears, and the knowledge that you cannot play with either of them without taking your life into your own hands. As always, we can’t be certain that we did these things, but it’s at least likely. And you had better believe us because if you don’t, that vibrating ooze in front of you may start to play tricks on your mind. You are warned.
Chiara Benlontani has won today’s Ruin-A-Life Drawing. As a result, the life of Chiara’s nemesis will be ruined. That nemesis is Drew Robinsino. We gave the Wheel of Misery a firm but gentle spin and it arrived on the space for Leaky. Yeah, I don’t think we need to go into too many details about why that might be a problem. In just about every way one can be leaky, Drew Robinsino will struggle with that particular affliction approximately seven percent more. Tears, saliva, other stuff. Watch out. For Evil Measure, Chiara Benlontani will be 3% less leaky, which might cause a problem down the road. Congratulations on the win and best of luck.
The Damnation and Ruination Squad, who are responsible for doling out these life ruin judgments, are currently wearing nothing but banana peels. They ran afoul of the Wheel of Misery some time ago and it has been dealing out these strange attire choices ever since. But given their chaotic nature, the Damnation and Ruination Squad have rolled with the wardrobe changes. They’re just wearing banana peels, like I said. It started out okay, but the banana peels are a few days old at this point. It’s getting gross.
This brings us to the end of our broadcast, shareholders. You can put the lid back on your jar of sonic ooze and leave it outside your door. We will collect it and recycle it. You really should not pour it down the drain, and you really really should not consume it. It may continue to vibrate for some time. What’s that Soundman? Yes, I see that there are people in green robes outside. You know, Soundman, I’m fresh out of curiosity at this stage. The numbers are next, shareholders.
BRIAUNA: Kakos Industries is written and produced by Conrad Miszuk, who is also the voice of Corin Deeth, and the composer of the music. The introductions are read by Ryan Jenkins, and the credits are read by Briauna Kittle, an ocean dwelling river monster.
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Special thanks to our esteemed shareholders, Alfredo Ravioli, Jack Attack, and Diontrey. Also thanks to honored employees Calico, who thought about the insult, Rocket who brainstormed some responses, Kristina Kirkland, who formulated the reply, and Anastasia K, who destroyed the fool. The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn, directed by Theo Cornet, has continued to knit a sporting arena. The turf went quickly enough, but somehow the goalposts are being an issue. The Division of Obscure Vintage Technology, directed by Craig Czyz, has purchased some old slides containing images so provocative that they are dangerous. The Division of Subtle Efficiency Increases, directed by Danniel R Smith, has reminded everybody to be chill. The Division of Saying It the Long Way, directed by Dino Schroeder, has been workshopping “My answer is the solution to this series of puzzles. It is no, but you won’t know that for sure for a few hours”. The Division of Kakos Kafeteria Reviews, directed by Seth and Josh, has reviewed Candy Burritos. “Dessert burritos are definitely strange. 6/11”. The Division of Improbable Cookbooks, directed by Hayden Neff has been working on “Everything is Corn”. It’s a bit more like performance art, but it is what it says it is. The Division of More Monday Mondays, directed by Odie, has made Mondays that much more Monday by rolling out some chaotic layoffs. The Division of Villainous Introspection, directed by Sarah, has still been looking deep into all of their own eyes in the mirror just marvelling at the depth of the soul in there. The Division of New Card Game Mechanics, led by Finn, has developed a card that, when you look through the pane of colored film, completely changes the nature of the game in front of you for the worse. The Division of Even Weirder bugs, directed by Franco El Terrible, has discovered a bug that really loves cotton candy vodka. The Division of Animal Stacking, directed by The One True Dave, has stacked seven pigs. They were very sleepy. The Division of Things with Switches that Shouldn’t Have Switches directed by Miss Doctor Indigo, Esq. XIII has installed a party switch on the bottle of cotton candy vodka. It is not on the cap. The Division of Unwanted Board Game Expansions directed by Kevin Rowland has created an expansion set that requires players to sing. The Division of Post Apocalyptic Delivery directed by Cave Hill, King Kill of the Murder Valley in the Mountains buried the package where the instructions indicated. It was a solemn affair. The Division of Prospective Exoplanet Tourism, directed by Victoria Wood, has started working on a pamphlet for Planet McPlanetface 3. This giant ball of gold will really make you reevaluate what is most valuable in life. Our esteemed shareholders, honored employees, division heads, and other Patreon patrons are the best. If you want a thank you in the credits, your own division, or other great rewards that help to keep this show running, please head to Kakosindustries.com/patreon. That’s Patreon: p-a-t-r-e-o-n.
Kakos industries can be dark, try not to fall in.