I’m Ariel Hume, a comic artist, completing my Joint Master of New Audiences and Innovative Practices at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. You are entering the world of ByoLogyc, as seen through the eyes of its employees, and rendered in the form of a graphic novel. Each comic is a small excerpt from my final thesis.
November 3, 2012
Dahlia Joss has quite the history. She was/is an expert hacker and all around techno-genius. She worked for CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, for years before getting caught for sneaking into classified government files. She told me she was given a choice: a life in prison, or a second chance under the watchful eye of her “warden”, Chet. Knowing what we know now, she probably would have been better off in jail.
I’ve met with her a few times at various watering holes around town (let me tell you, that girl can DRINK. My source says it was her drinking that allowed EXE to slip through the cracks and play Scrabble with ByoRenew). I still keep in contact with Dahlia, aka BlackDahlia, aka DataNully. Apparently her closest friend and ally, Tyler Wyatt, ByoLogyc’s once-upon-a-time Creative Director, has been kidnapped by unknown sources. Well, almost unknown…
As the pandemic threat grows, the signs are showing up everywhere. Dahlia clearly doesn’t care much about those consequences. Like anyone (dare I say) in love, she’s only worried about reuniting with Tyler.
Felicity Chapman, one of the heirs to the Chapman Ice Cream fortune, gave it up and struck out on her own. She’s a bit of mystery to me as she’s been work WITH ByoLogyc for a long time now, at least since their 20th Anniversary Party, but only recently has she started working FOR them as the ByoRetreats Manager and came on board just as I was being asked to leave. Which worked really well for you, Mr. Getram.
Sassy, smart and sexy, Felicity seems to represent everything that ByoLogyc once imagined itself to be and seems to be holding onto being - despite the overwhelming signs that it’s rotting from the inside. Bad timing for Ms. Chapman I’d say.
I learned that she once had this great plan of transforming the ByoRetreats into places of luxury and lavishness, where the 1% could essentially live their lives secluded away for the rest of us knuckle draggers. I heard there was supposed to be a ByoMate Hotel and a ByoBaby Kindergarten centre (creepy!) but since the discovery of BRX, the ByoRetreats are being turned into something between a prison and a dungeon …
My usual source was pretty dry on the subject of Adrian Quinn, lab manager at ByoLogyc. She was hired in 2009, I think, to help Dr. Baxter finish up with ByoMate (she wrote her dissertation on mammalian pheromones or something like that.) During my time at ByoLogyc, I rarely saw the two of them apart.
In need of info, I went to ByoLogyc’s free “Public Health and Wellness Clinic”. Talk about a shit show. The Sanitation & Containment Division is not to be trifled with. That much I learned. And, I personally saw Adrian coughing up blood. I tried to ask her how long she’s known, and she didn’t say anything. But her eyes did. All of it.
So I don’t know exactly what she thought in that washroom in July. But I think I probably got it close enough. I do know that she’s infected with BRX, no doubt. And she knows it too.
This is where it gets serious. If they can’t help their own, what hope do we have?
I’ve heard that things have been tense at the Production Facility in Markham lately, with the SCD (Sanitation and Containment Division – guess we know what all those new hires were about) taking over. Supposedly Brad Mitchell, the Facilities Manager, has fallen from Chet’s favour and is now at the mercy of these… people.
And WTF is BRX? Suddenly there’s a problem with ByoRenew (big surprise there) and it MAY have mutated and people MAY be infected with it and ByoLogyc MAY or MAY NOT have things under control. Of all the people at ByoLogyc, I liked Brad. A bit of a try-hard ladies man, but honest. Fair. What really makes me sad is that I always got the sense that he really believed in what ByoLogyc was trying to do. Or in what he thought they were trying to do. However, I’ve also heard that he was just offered a substantial pay increase, and that he took it. Hard to have too much sympathy for those who willingly stay too long in the boiler room.
I got banned from ByoLogyc, yet here we are. There is more to see at ByoLogyc, and so I suppose I won’t be done until they are… or my funding runs out. Renata Reinger is a bit of a mystery. I’ve only ever met her once or twice and she’s never been all that chatty. At least not with me. To be honest, I sort of overlooked her as, in comparison to the Chets and Olives of the world, she doesn’t seek the spotlight. What I’ve learned is that she’s been promoted to the head of something called the Sanitation & Containment Division. As well, there have been a lot of recent hires at ByoLogyc lately. Or so I’ve heard. Are they connected? It’s hard to know WHAT’S going on at our dear Biotech/Lifestyle Solutions/Problem-Child. One thing I do know about Frau Reinger is that she’s old-guard ByoLogyc; she was already a veteran when Chet’s father Hewson (ByoLogyc’s founder) was still around. If she’s got a hand in this game, this is the first we’ve seen of her or what her cards might be.
A curious email arrived in my inbox earlier this week.
It has come to our attention that the work we’ve allowed you to do here does not necessarily paint us in the fairest light. We invited you to show the world what working at ByoLogyc is really like; instead you have falsified and dramatized even the most mundane of events. More oddly still, your refusal to share drafts with Mr. Getram himself (or, for that matter, any of the employees you’ve taken the time to “research” and doodle) has resulted in this warped and unhealthy vision of ByoLogyc, one that you seem content to put forth as fact. Mr. Getram’s level of dissatisfaction has reached its zenith and we are going to have to end our relationship prematurely.
Please return your access badge tomorrow at our offices. Unfortunately, your lack of cooperation voids our previous contract—ByoLogyc will no longer be able to pay for your airfare back to Iceland. I suggest you begin making other arrangements for your safe return.
And on a personal note, I explicitly told you I had no desire for that particular night to be sketched. Your portrayal of me is almost villainous. My disappointment resulted in a discussion with Chet, and so here we are. Good luck completing your degree; I hope you’ve learned something about dealing with live subjects as opposed to fictional superheroes.
Best wishes in making better future choices,
Really, Mr. Getram? When I first brought this project to you, you professed to be an advocate of full transparency and a believer of the documentary form. Were this so, I am sure you would understand that my work here takes no editorial stance. I have endeavoured to tell the story that I see accurately. I fear that you may be more interested in advertising than accuracy, however.
To be frank, I believe there are many worse anecdotes I could have told than the ones I have depicted so far. ByoLogyc clearly has many secrets, and some of them seem quite dangerous. The events at the VIP Launch Party in July strongly suggest that transparency is not at the top of your minds.
Nevertheless, I have a thesis project to complete. My formal access to ByoLogyc may have been terminated, but the show goes on. A source has stepped forward to provide me with an ongoing account of events within the company. Given this source’s position and disposition, I expect a very fruitful relationship.
I was lucky enough to attend the ByoLogyc VIP Launch Party last month during one of my visits to Toronto. “Lucky” may be a bit of an exaggeration, considering what happened there. My feelings on the subject are mixed. On the one hand, it is increasingly difficult to feel safe at the hands of ByoLogyc. On the other hand, this story has become a lot more interesting. During the event, I spent much of the evening with Senior HR Officer Henry Chan, who is pretty much the perfect person to have by your side when the situation goes awry. Not because he is particularly useful in a crisis, but because he particularly comfortable slinging the dirt. Henry has been with the company since pretty much the beginning, like Ms. Hammersmith; but unlike her, he is quite forthright about explaining the way “things actually are.” This is probably because he has a rather unique contract that stipulates he cannot be fired, regardless of his behaviour. I managed to peek over his shoulder to get the last panel for this comic. I am not sure if he would be okay with me publishing what I saw, but somehow, I don’t think he’ll be too upset about it.
Denis Kirkham: sharp, charming, and full of energy. Starting in 2010 in ByoLogyc’s mailroom, his knack for saying the right thing at the right time earned him a quick spot in the corporate assistants team. He was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant to the CEO earlier this year. Normally quite eager-to-please, I caught Mr. Kirkham at a bit of an off moment, and had the opportunity to listen to him vent about a recent project of his that didn’t go quite according to plan. I’m not sure he’ll be thrilled to see himself like this, but such are the risks of a documentary art form.
Bernice Hammersmith is a very interesting person to talk to. In her interview with me, she was amazingly adept at answering tough questions with an informative answer that is also quite glossy. It is no wonder that she is the second-in-command at ByoLogyc; this kind of shrewd businessperson is no doubt a great asset. And having been around since the beginning, she knows quite a lot. She speaks quite highly about Mr. Getram, even while unreservedly admitting his impetuous nature, depicted above. The characteristic of a visionary—a strong force, when tempered by a stable hand like Ms. Hammersmith’s.