Hudson Ashbrecht

birthday: July 1, 2XXX

occupation: Military contractor

sex: M

blood type: O

likes: “Adventure. Yeah. I’d say I live for adventure.”

dislikes: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

seen with: Amethyst and Power Security Corps

[from Personnel Control dossier 19072705. KH: Mars]

Not so much man as rubble shaped into a person and shoved into the north’s military craw. Father was a preacher, found dead splayed on the kitchen table under mysterious circumstances. No wounds. Wasn’t much time for forensics, then. Mother vanished in the marsh soon after. Life alone in rural New Brunswick left Ashbrecht adept at living on the land, skilled with firearms, and possessed by intense independence. Gained first combat experience after joining an Acadian military contractor fighting Maine Threeper incursions, later joined voluntary border militia keeping American refugees out of the country. Stipend paid for his high school tuition.

Teachers commented on his thoughtful bent, which in adulthood manifests in outbursts of intellectual glossolalia that rupture his baseline drug-addled melancholy. In a different world he’d be starving on the sessional professor circuit teaching bourgeois sprogs about Kuhn. Instead he found drugs, and then an A&P recruitment office.

Ashbrecht’s managers admire his inability to feel discomfort in any circumstance: whatever his threshold for disgust is, he hasn’t reached it. It is our opinion he never will.

Ideal candidate for JCO work. Recommend offering employment at the first opportunity. Will continue monitoring.

Claims he’s never dreamed.


birthday: January 28, 2XXX

occupation: Barista

sex: NB

blood type: A-

likes: Books, nail polish

dislikes: N/A r

seen with: Lacie Ostler


Essin XXXXXXX would be a total nullity were it not for their mother, noted environmental extremist [REDACTED — KH NEPTUNE]. Father former cook, retired to Sudbury shortly after Essin graduated high school and started living on their own. Relationship characterized by mutual indifference.

Aimless, no interest in the future, few prospects. As they are estranged from Mrs. XXXXXXX, and show no signs of sharing their mother’s violent ideological positions, we do not consider them a hazard. Random low-level audits to maintain information integrity will be sufficient.

Amelia Wallach

birthday: August 24, 2XXX

occupation: Illegal myrmecologist

sex: F

blood type: AB-

likes: Ants

dislikes: Stupidity

seen with: works alone

[from Personnel Control KM dossier 201.516.91. KH: Neptune. REQUEST WAITING EXPURGATION PENDING SUCCESSFUL APPEAL FROM INFORMATION CONTROL. See grey literature file AH101-23.1 for details.]

While Information Control has pushed for terminating Wallach, I recommend we sustain our veto. I’m not convinced she’s a lost cause. IC’s permanent presumption that any information deviant is an ideological hazard does not hold true. (And I maintain that their mania for purging info hazards demands intervention from the JCO. The scientific underground is doing useful work.)

IC’s reasoning for termination is as follows: she fought in the Baffin War, where she was sexually involved with the current director of Animal Control. There, she witnessed the first documented new animal replacement, deserting shortly afterwards without collecting her quite substantial pay. She has a lifelong interest in ecology. We have no information about her life prior to her involvement with Amethyst & Power— she’s among those whose identity was lost on Sunny Sunday. In the absence of psychosubstrate to profile, circumstances (at least according to our colleagues in IC) suggest a principled opposition to the JCO.

This amounts to a tenuous argument. Evidence supports my hypothesis that ideology has nothing to do with Wallach’s reluctance to take up government work. She’s possessed by libidinous pragmatism. If she has an objective, it is to know.

This is what disturbs me. Not that she’s misguided. She’d shown no ideological affiliation prior to war and has shown none after. Nothing in her behaviour demonstrates she’s among the many afflicted by some juvenile political grudge against the government for our public safety policies. What does that leave IC with? She likes nature. She’s mad that it’s dying. Plenty are. Most of those are liberals, and we have many liberals at the JCO.

No. She has contempt for the JCO because she thinks we’re stupid. Any literature we have traced to her invariably includes some argument that AC’s method for managing the crisis won’t work, with a convincing outline of why it won’t work.

And where I write she thinks, I worry that I should write she knows. I’ve read the literature in question and her powers of insight and analysis would be the envy of a veteran knowledge auditor. I recommend we continue seeking her assistance with the present crisis— whether or not recruitment is possible.

I furthermore insist we issue an edict to IC that they are not to pursue her with the usual methods. I hope this case of IC overreach prompts the JCO to take IC’s escalating headstrong tendencies seriously. They cannot continue if we hope to manage the changes forecasted in the coming year.

Recommendation denied. Information Control’s autonomy must be preserved for the effective performance of its duties.


Director, Joint Control Office


Subject: Re: what are we calling these things?

I’ve seen everything from Antifaunal Assault Armour to slaughter suits to Manticore Tactical Equalization Gear to the Epiphany Apparel d6a1ee4e1621f244246d1912b5926b39. I got that last one from an audio recording. The interviewee recited the entire fucking hash from memory. As far as I can tell, the suit doesn’t have an official name. I visited a factory where every department had its own designation and wasn’t aware that the name wasn’t shared by any other team.

If we believe the rumours (and keep in mind the rumours are extremely consistent and founded in firsthand accounts), the schematics and a prototype for AC’s armour were found in an off-campus McGill basement closet, along with detailed guides for synthesizing the suit’s trademark plastic-adiposal mesentery— which does, indeed, require bone marrow cells. Which leads to my next discovery, which will probably land this gibmail a Jupiter rating.

Yes, the first suit’s material solely incorporated human bone marrow. And the suit was still “alive,” despite the years that had passed between its manufacture and discovery. I say “alive”, but the Material Fabrication Control word for the mesentery’s alive-like state is “sub-cellular autonomic trembling” to make the distinction between what the material does and what living tissues do. Apparently there’s a significant difference, though having read the documentation it seems like one of those hairs scientists arbitrarily split to simplify their jobs.

The closet where the suit was found didn’t exist on any official blueprints. No scientist put their name on the schematics. If it hadn’t been for a remodeling effort the prototype would have probably stayed buried. Radiocarbon dating established that the armour could have been assembled as early as the 1960s.

Whoever built and programmed the micro-computer and its OS could’ve made a killing on computer miniaturization but clearly thought a mask on an obscure piece of experimental Cold War hazardous environment gear was more important. It uses highly, highly shrunk-down vacuum tubing. Think Soviet MiG avionics. Works across a breadth of temperatures and resists electromagnetic pulses. This is why the prototype made it through Sunny Sunday completely functional.

Though there was some discussion around using the prototype’s technology to break the gibber monopoly, the people who first discovered that suit in a Ravenscrag basement mainly saw it as a historical curiosity. For whatever reason the prototype tumbled into JCO hands. Three years later it was standard issue for Animal Controllers across the country. I still haven’t been able to shut the info-gap on that one. Nobody signed off on the decision as far as I can tell.

The AC suit we see today is hardly modified from that prototype. It’s been updated with some basic network connectivity features, better batteries, solid-state electronics to supplement (but only supplement) the vacuum-tube systems, better optics, etc. Otherwise what we have now copies the prototype down to the riveting. As far as I’ve been able to gather the suits aren’t made with human bone marrow anymore, but what’s there now is such a cocktail (and it is derived from previous plastic-adiposal batches) that I find it hard to rule out a few human cells in the mix. But, for all intents and purposes, it’s the same damned suit— with one blinding exception.

Those skull masks weren’t part of the prototype. The original mask was a neutral gasmask looking thing. Like what you’d expect if you thought your soldiers would be wading through a radioactive wasteland, and maybe needed special lenses to see radiation and electromagnetic waves or whatever.

I’ve spent a few hundred hours working on this and I still don’t know where the skull thing comes from. Again, no documentation. Speculation of course abounds in both unofficial and official channels. The fact of the latter really scares me. Why don’t JCO people know the reason for the skulls if it’s the singular aesthetic change made to the suit? I cannot articulate how grotesquely overcomplicated the process for manufacturing those masks is.

The most popular theory is that something about it combined with the suit’s material throws animals off-guard. Are they facing something living or dead? Animate or inanimate? Part of the cycles of birth and death, or immortal bio-petrochemical?

Frankly I highly doubt animals make these distinctions. They probably just care if something moves or it doesn’t, but I’m not an animal behaviourist. Just a human one. The usual erasure trails and intratextual whale prints that point to deletions simply are not there. While I’ve done enough research at this point to make some very, very educated guesses, as with so many things, all I can really do is guess.

When did it become the case that Information Controllers were stuck guessing about their own government? We handle their information. It makes me wonder what the hell else is buried somewhere out there undiscovered in some out there secret basements.

Which suggests (I hate to say it) that this was kept in a silo from us.

Which could have only been done by someone higher than us in the JCO.

Which means we might be confronting both the underground press and an internal parallel information infrastructure.

This is bad.

I keep telling myself that we aren’t America. We aren’t going to end like America did. But then it occurs to me that we might have built something worse. Not fragile because it is fractious, but sturdy, doing exactly what it was designed to do, without our input.

I’ll save my remaining heresies for brunch. (Still on for Sunday?) I’m putting the finishing touches on my report, and I’ll have it handed in tomorrow, in addition to my recommendations for how we should proceed given current behavioural projections.

Here’s a teaser: They aren’t professionals. They fight every night, but they don’t fight people.

We do.

Lacie Ostler

birthday: November 4, 2XXX

occupation: Bookseller (receiving)

sex: F

blood type: B+

likes: reading, gas station coffee, cloudy days

seen with: Essin XXXXXXX

[from Information Control Case Files. 23.456.H101(C). KH: Jupiter. See linked data for relation mapping.]

Oh my god I remember this bitch. She was all over the news. Child activist-type. I think her deal was jellyfish or something like that. A modern day Gritty Thurber. Whatever her name was. Anyway. For whatever reason Ostler left the treefucker circuit, dropped out of high school, and has since been ping-ponging between minimum wage jobs in service and retail. While no longer active in any terrorist group, she’s a big reader, hates the Chief, and our Auditors are saying that her old delusions are very much a dormant factor in her life. They think she’ll very likely get involved in illegal research if given the chance. Possibly a thread we’ll want to pull at some point. No action at this time, but we’re keeping an eye on her.

[Update: See files 23.456.H101(D-F). -mpVC]