SMRL will be making another appearance at Burning Man next
week. For the uninitiated, the question is: who are these
Who is SMRL?
Founded in 1989 by a rogue splinter offshoot of the notorious TELEfriend
Gang, Spock Mountain Research Laboratories has flourished under the harsh
light of recent media attention. Easily identifiable from long distances
by their distinctive hats and white labcoats, the SMRL scientists have
trekked back and forth across the country promoting the twin causes of
Spock and Beer, and their resulting condition: Bad Crazyness. While an
SMRL technician may indeed be spotted at any event capable of drawing sizable
crowds, they are perhaps most often encountered in their natural environment:
the smoky confines of a cheap dive bar suits the SMRL man best. Accompanied
at all times by faithful monkey robots, it is best advised to approach
the SMRL agent in the field with the utmost caution. There exist reports
- unproven - of strangers being forced to climb ladders or suffering the
indignities of a sudden punch to the gut simply for behaving in some way
the SMRL operatives found provocative. Little is currently known as to
what motivates the SMRL to such unnecessary acts of hostility, so caution
is strongly advised at all times.
When the SMRL Team is away from its fortress-like compound nestled deep
in the foothills of the mysterious Spock Mountain Range, a mobile lab is
utilized for the purpose of conducting beverage science research on the
go. This state-of-the-art travelling laboratory contains over $1.5
million worth of highly specialized analysis equipment, a portable sensory
enhancement tank constructed from graphite and powered by a miniature nuclear
generator, and an experimental matter replicator, as well as 40 pounds
of chili and enough space to store over two dozen labcoats. Designed to
the exacting specifications of SMRL Founder Jed Sanders, the Mobile Lab
Unit (MLU) also features a tin roof and a high-tech spittoon. The
MLU can be set up onsite in less than three hours, and its power cycled
to fully operational status in mere seconds. A cache of deadly "critter"
robots provides security for technicians at the worksite, while a highly
motivated staff of SMRL security
technicians provdes an additional level of safety.
Although details are sketchy at the present time, sources deep within
SMRL claim that future onsite installations will feature an advanced "Spring
Loaded Rocketry" module, as well as a "big barrel filled with water that
you can dunk your head in while you try to catch a frog in your mouth."
What Kind of Research Do They Do?
This is one of the enduring mysteries of the SMRL enigma. Unconfirmed
reports of shrieking and moaning noises amidst the din of clattering steel
objects deep within the bowels of SMRL have surfaced, but no one seems
to be able to find out exactly what sorts of research is being performed,
or what ultimate aims Team SMRL have in mind, and no one in a position
to know these things is doing any talking. Ask an SMRL scientist
what he is working on, and you will likely get as many different answers
as you have scientists you ask questions. A glimmer of clarity emerged
at last year's Burning Man Festival when SMRL representatives distributed
a strange alcoholic drink called "Spocktail 1.0". This mysterious
liquid reputedly caused convulsions and lack of critical thinking in many
individuals who consumed it, but no official complaints were ever filed
against SMRL for their activities.
An earlier report suggests that much of SMRL's work revolves around
the idea of a "huntin' dog daterbase" that was pioneered by Dr. Sanders
at his ranch in the Ozarks, but since this product, too, remains hidden
from public view, an observer can but speculate. Is it possible,
as some have suggested, that SMRL is actually doing research into the existence
of an extraterrestrial "Star Chile"? Or is it more likely that the
public face of SMRL as happy-go-lucky "Purveyors of Fine Beverages" is
closer to the truth? Anyone who has heard the inhuman screams issuing from
Compound Six at SMRL Headquarters might be inclined to disagree with the
"Weird, but Harmless" theory.
No, Really, Who Are These Guys?
Despite the best efforts of today's most dedicated truth-seekers, this
question remains sadly unanswered. Some speak of a "Mr. Bad," who
appears to be a public spokesman of sorts; other tell tales of a strange,
frenetic, primate-like man known only as "El Snatcher": if rumors are to
be believed, this man is a responsible for technological innovation at
SMRL at the highest levels, and has possibly authorized many or most of
the brutal experiments which perplex and disturb onlookers all over the
world. Another tale persists of an entity known only as the "Ogre
Juggernaut," supposedly a huge, domesticated beast who appears mysteriously
at various SMRL functions and just as mysteriously fades into darkness.
The truth is, we may never know exactly who these men and women actually
are. The SMRL places its utmost priority on secrecy and intrigue,
and such information simply may not be forthcoming.
What Are They Building Out There?
Currently, SMRL operatives have been seen busily preparing for an appearance
at this year's Burning Man event in the remote Nevada desert. Little
details have been forthcoming, but BM attendees can certainly expect to
encounter the SMRL Mobile Lab Unit in action, and it would not be surprising
to witness strange colors and flashing images coming from inside the unit
at all hours of the day and night. Expect Spocktails to pour freely,
as well as huge vats of chili, but beware of the vicious robot helpers
which always accompany the SMRL scientists. It's also been suggested
that, though they may look like a "bunch of hillbillies," SMRL personnel
are highly trained in subterfuge and disorientation; one "survivor"
insists that the SMRL always travels with one or several extremely efficient
and remorseless Psi-Ops agents. Be on the lookout at all times around
these individuals: they are not what they appear to be.