Thursday, April 16, 2015

Case Study No. 1899: JP Armitage (student library worker)

Carmilla | Episode 27 | Based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu Novella
Carmilla | Episode 27

"Required Reading"

Laura and LaFontaine are back from the Library and have brought along an "old" friend to help them in their quest to uncover the mystery of Silas U.

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[scene opens with three female students (after returning from the Silas University Library) speaking into a web camera in their dorm room]
LAURA: So we survived the research trip!
[she looks over at her friend (who is sporting a black eye)]
LAURA: Which we should probably never speak of again.
[she gestures towards the other girl, who is holding an ancient looking book]
LAURA: And here is our haul ... One gnarly Sumerian book from before time began and--
LAFONTAINE: The rescued digital consciousness of one JP Armitage, junior records clerk and Silas student, class of Eighteen Seventy Four.
[she holds up a flash drive, then plugs it into the computer]
LAFONTAINE: Say "Hi" to the Internet, JP.
[an image of a young man dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing appears in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, along with text reading "Hello, internet! Splendid to meet you."]
LAURA: Because somebody really did get absorbed into the library catalogue ... Although how he got sucked in, like, a hundred years before the catalogue was digitized?
[she shrugs, then "Well, you see I was minding my own business one day way way back in 1874. The Autumn leaves were just turning their auburns and reds and golds when--" appears on screen]
LAFONTAINE: We really need to find you a better interface ...
["You're right ... it's kind of a long story ... " appears on screen]
LAFONTAINE: Anyway, turns out JP has helped us before. Remember the truly stellar search results and timely warnings for us to flee from our last trip to the library? All courtesy of JP!
["Glad I could be of service!" appears on screen]
LAURA: According to JP, there was a rash of disappearances in Eighteen Seventy Four as well. And although he didn't have an electron microscope to suss out the brain parasites, he did get way further along than we did with his research into the--
[she struggles with the pronunciation]
LAURA: "Luce esurientem" ... or "The Hungry Light," and the cult of vampires serving it, aka the dean's special council.
[she motions towards the book]
LAURA: He'd even found reference to this giant Sumerian tome, uh, that's supposed to have a section on it ... which is what he was searching for in the sub-basement when he got--
[she pauses]
LAURA: Absorbed.
CARMILLA: Well, wonder librarian, better have more than just "hungry" and "eats girls" because that pretty much describes everything in this book.
LAURA: No, but there's gotta be something ...
CARMILLA: Mm mm, no. Yuggoth ... Raised with twelve virgins, burned at the stake.
[she looks at another page]
CARMILLA: Um, Khalos. Sprinkled with the blood of ... virgins. Smeared on the roots of the sacrificial tree.
[she turns to another page]
CARMILLA: Niar Logoth. Prefers the livers of virgins. Force fed nothing but red wine for ninety six days ...
CARMILLA: Thirteen year old boys have so much more subtlety.
LAFONTAINE: Yeah, that's the problem with the existence of horrors from beyond the dawn of time. Their lack of subtlety ... Though it is pretty cool that you can read Sumerian.
CARMILLA: Eh, Eighteen Seventy One was a dull year ...
[she shrugs]
CARMILLA: I decided to read Gilgamesh.
[there's a knock at the door, and another female student enter]
PERRY: Oh good, you're all still here.
[they say nothing]
PERRY: Um, because I saw Laura's last video about going to the library and I thought I'd just ... check to make sure you weren't dead. And you're not.
[they say nothing]
PERRY: So, that's fine.
[she leaves, then Laura looks at LaFontaine]
LAURA: She'll come around, you'll see. 'Cause ... You're awesome, and we would literally be nowhere without you.
[she nudges her with her elbow]
LAURA: You know that, right?
[she laughs]
[she looks at the computer]
LAFONTAINE: Come on, JP. Let's you and I hit my homunculid anatomy course and see if we can't figure out anything about these parasites.
["Oh, happy day! A Field Trip!! Ta Ta!" appears on screen, then she unplugs the flash drive (as the image of the young man disappears) and leaves]
LAURA: Great. And we will keep reading the giant Sumerian tome of Do-Not-Want ...
[she moves her chair closer to Carmilla]
LAURA: So, thanks, by the way ... for coming with us to the library.
CARMILLA: I thought we were never speaking of that again.
LAURA: Yeah.
[she chuckles nervously]
LAURA: You came along 'cause you wanna know what happened to her, didn't you? 'Cause you're hoping that you can save her somehow?
CARMILLA: Don't start expecting heroic vampire crap from me, cupcake. If I know better than to mess with my mother, I sure as hell know better than to spit in the eye of something old enough to think it's a god.
[she goes back to reading]
CARMILLA: Besides, the wench is dead.
LAURA: So are you. Doesn't seem to be putting a dent in your social life.
[she gives another nervous laugh]
LAURA: Besides, if you want me to stop having heroic notions about you, you should probably stop saving my life.
CARMILLA: Then who would buy the cupcakes?
[cut to another shot of Laura turning on her desk lamp (as Carmilla tosses and turns in her bed), as she turns to the camera and smiles]
LAURA: Ah, there is just nothing like a good night's sleep!
[she turns to Carmilla]
LAURA: Right, sleepyhead?
[she covers her face with the book]
LAURA: I mean, I did dream about that weird black cat thing again, but I think that's just my subconscious being weird ... This morning, after a long night of fruitless research, it is more fruitless research!
[Carmilla sighs]
LAURA: This time for my final Lit paper, on which I am woefully behind ... If anyone had told me before college that fighting evil required this much paperwork, I would not have believed them.
[Perry suddenly storms into the room]
PERRY: Where is she?
[she looks around the room, then marches up to Laura]
PERRY: Because if she thinks this is some kind of joke, that she's trying to teach me a lesson, it is in such incredibly bad taste!
LAURA: Where is who now?
PERRY: Susan! Uh, LaFontaine ... And I know that she's mad at me, but that is just no excuse for all this!
LAURA: L-LaFontaine isn't here ...
PERRY: What?
[she stops and looks around, confused]
PERRY: N-No. She has to be. It has to be a joke ...
LAURA: What has to be a joke?
PERRY: Her room was a mess and this was stapled to the door.
[she hands Laura a folded piece of paper, which she starts reading]
LAURA: "Dear student, your nosy little friend no longer attends Silas University because ... A, she meddled in things that were none of her business."
[Carmilla sits up with a concerned look on her face]
LAURA: "B, did you really think we wouldn't find out what you were up to? C, we are ancient and terrible. D, none of you are safe ... We'll take anyone we want."
[Perry looks more and more terrified]
LAURA: "Exit procedures have commenced. No action on your part is required."



The webseries "Carmilla" is a YouTube series based on the novella, told from the perspective of Laura - a freshman in university who is investigating the disappearance of her roommate. Suddenly, she is assigned a new roommate - a broody girl named Carmilla. The series is a multi-platform digital media experience, with many outlets on social media where you can find episodes and additional content.



By now you may have heard of the webseries Carmilla, which is an adaptation of the Gothic novel by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The buzz surrounding the series is for a good reason: It's completely addictive. The updated Carmilla centers on college student Laura (a positively delightful Elise Bauman) who attends the creepy Silas University. When her roommate mysteriously disappears and is replaced by Carmilla (a perfectly cast Natasha Negovanlis), Laura sets off on a mission to expose the school's dangerous secrets.



The library is open 24 hours a day during exam weeks and weeks coinciding with the full moon.

During normal weeks the library closes a 7:06 pm on weekdays and 8:13 pm on weekends. Hours are strictly enforced.

Card catalogues are resources for all students, assuming they like you.

Please listen to all computer terminals. They know things.



The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
Has nobody heard of Plausible Deniability? These accusations of abduction are getting tiresome.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Evidence,while not absolute proof,suggests responsibility on your part for these actions.Deniability isn't seen as plausible

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid There is no evidence whatsoever of girls going missing, nor that I abducted them Mr. Reaid.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas There is evidence of girls disappearing mysteriously with notes implying it was officially sanctioned by the school.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Additionally your earlier tweet,while not proof of wrongdoing,is highly suspicious in it's wording.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Considering your wording just now you can truthfully say girls haven't gone missing if you know where they are.

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid Ind. LaFontaine transferred to a different school, therefore they are not missing.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Why would anyone willingly transfer to another school when Silas is clearly superior to the alternatives?

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid Ind. LaFontaine, I believe, cited "the interesting Flora and Fauna in Iceland" as their reason for wanting to transfer.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Giant mushrooms grow at Silas, the like of which grow no where else in the known world.

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid Am I supposed to dissect Ind. LaFontaine's reason for transferring Mr. Reaid? They asked to transfer, I obliged.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Why are so many students,all of them female,transferring to other schools,perhaps there is a danger overlooked,unquestioned?

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid Transferring is not the only reason. Some students experience a psychological event that leaves them unfit for student life.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas Like being trapped in a library mainframe? @SilasBookworm

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid @SilasBookworm Whom the Library chooses to absorb is out of my jurisdiction.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas @SilasBookworm Shouldn't it be your jurisdiction, you're the Dean. Granted, it may or may not be sentient, but oversight?

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid @SilasBookworm Nobody actually knows how the Library became a part of campus. The Librarians are in charge, there.

Joshua Reaid (@JoshuaReaid) Oct 30 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas @SilasBookworm Do you know if the Librarians know? You've been Dean for a while, might this be relevant to look into?

The Dean (@TheDeanOfSilas) Oct 30 2014
@JoshuaReaid @SilasBookworm When the University tried to ask questions last time they somehow removed all the doors and windows. So, no.

J.P. Armitage (@SilasBookworm) Nov 4 2014
@TheDeanOfSilas @JoshuaReaid If the pants get what they want then I demand for the release of LaFontaine, the missing girls, and myself!



Carmilla: The Series: Episode 27: Here Is Our Haul, or The Dragon Cannot Be Slain

Laura: "So we survived the research trip..."


"...which we should probably never speak of again. And here is our haul."

Oh, it's one of those videos.

I don't understand; how could Laura get any cuter?

Anyway, it's an ancient Sumerian book. I guess she hit up Anthropologie?


Yeah, that joke didn't land. I am so sorry.

According to social media, Laura, LaFontaine, and Carmilla's excursion to the library was just as exciting as last time, though because of preparation, they managed with even fewer bumps and bruises than last time. And they retrieved a tome about uber-demons.

They also got the rescued digital consciousness of a former Silas University student and record clerk by the name of J. P. Armitage. Feel free to read that sentence as many times as you need to, because I had to watch those five seconds half a dozen myself. (Also, there goes my former all-girls school theory.) So, apparently there is literally a person absorbed into the library catalog, which of course at this point is par for the course. No, really, the whole ghost-in-the-machine situation they've added to the mix does not faze Laura or LaFontaine one bit.

Also, interesting note: our Tronned brother-in-arms was sucked into the computer in 1874, which coincidentally was the first reaping year that Carmilla was grounded.

You see what I did there?


Too soon? Again, I am so sorry.

Speaking of Carmilla, she's heavily invested in the tome, so can I just say:

And speaking of nerdiness, the entire conspiracy just got a hundred times bigger. Apparently the Cabal is serving the Poltergeist-esque light from Laura's dream, which is some sort of dark god-except the opposite of dark... you know what I mean. This gives the mythos of the show so much more depth and longevity. My original hypothesis of the show was that it could continue indefinitely by throwing a new Big Bad every season like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Instead, they're giving us something more along the lines of Angel, where our players are just pawns in a epic, eternal war between deities, and their purpose is not to defeat the Great Evil, but to save people, which is exactly what I've been praising the show for from the beginning. Remember how Laura's original calling was to save her roommate? Remember how Carmilla was like a broken record about the invulnerability of her Mother? Remember how so much of the conflict can be seen as a metaphor for an oppressive, corrupt system where college-aged women are unprotected? Remember how "love will have its sacrifices"? I really hope this is all intentional, that the show is going to give us easy Mario-defeats-Bowser resolutions. Imagine instead that the show portrays our heroes as doing as much good as they're capable of against an enemy too large to defeat. And not just "large", but universal, a collective, something that can't be stabbed.

And now we know why Carmilla is the one reading the tome; it's in Sumerian, which she learned in 1871, i.e. right before meeting Ell. I didn't think Ancient Sumerian is the kind of language you could pick up in a year, but maybe that's a benefit of being a vampire? Does it return their brain development to that a child, much like it provides for healing of the body? Is that why they can pick up dozens of language, and not only languages, but the arts and knowledge? Maybe that's why they're so cultured. Carmilla spoke of after her sheltered life absorbing so furiously the world around her. And maybe some vampires don't and become mindless savage killers, because violence is all their brains were primed for, and one day their social obligations were removed.

Wow, I just digressed from a digression. I need an editor.

So, Carmilla is trying to track down the Hungry Light in the tome. Unfortunately, most demon gods are only interested in arcane rituals involving the blood of virgins, and none of them and all of them fit the description of the Cabal's god. There's some metacommentary about thirteen-year-old boys that didn't resonate with me enough to analyze it.

Perry pops in her head in to make sure her favorite people aren't messily dead. She knocks, because apparently she respects the wishes of even her vampire residents. Sounds about right. She's relieved but doesn't seem too worried, but I'm not sure what supremely worried about the lives of your closest friends on top of supremely guilty about rejecting your best friend's gender identity looks like.

Laura continues to be an awesome person. She's also updating people by web video, so she's learned that lesson, and I'm not mad at her anymore. She nudges LaFontaine, promising them that Perry will come around.

J. P. must not be on the Ethernet because LaFontaine wants to take him on a field trip and they need his dongle. That came out very wrong.

It's only at this point that we learn that Carmilla came along on the library excursion, which is probably accounts for Laura and LaFontaine not being messily dead. Laura however proves to be too observant for her own good, realizing that Carmilla is pining after her last love and wants to know everything about her and perhaps how to save her.

"Don't start expecting heroic vampire crap from me, cupcake."

That's it. That's Carmilla. It's probably on the Karnstein coat of arms.

Or something in German, I guess.

I know she's posturing again, but it is her personality.

"Besides, the wench is dead."


Laura points out that this is the pot calling the kettle black. She also gets a very impolite jab about Carmilla's "social life" that rubs Carmilla (and me) the wrong way. In an attempt to make up for it, she points out that if Carmilla doesn't want to be viewed as heroic, she should probably stop doing heroic things. It's about the nice backhanded compliment I've ever heard. That's Laura for you.

The next morning, Laura tries to wake up Carmilla before noon, which goes over as well with vampires as it does your typical Tumblr blogger. Carmilla's growly little "no" is about the cutest thing in the world. In an episode where Laura is floor-to-ceiling adorbz-as the kids are saying it these days-Carmilla manages to outdo her.

Laura continues to fall behind in what I assume is her second favorite class, 19th Century English Literature, and maybe if she made up with her first wife, things would be easier on her. But Laura is still ruthlessly optimistic that she can stop an incoming train with a flyswatter. I think she has an overactive zeal gland that Health Services really needs to look at. The scariest part is that she seems to be having fun.

That needs to stop.

But I need to be careful what I wish for.

Perry storms in, this time without knocking, looking for LaFontaine the same way one might look for a purse, by retracing her steps and checking closets. She's doing a lot of misgendering, though she does correct herself from "Susan" to "LaFontaine" without prompting. She does this even though she seems to believe that LaFontaine is pulling some sort of cruel prank on her.

What happens next is LaFontaine pops out from under Laura's bed wearing a funny hat and...

That's not true. That's just my brain blocking out what really happened. Perry unfolds a notecard that she's been clutching in her hand. She can't find LaFontaine and she found their room a mess with a notecard stapled to the door.

The scariest part of this is the facade is down; Mother is no longer trying to hide her actions. I hate that this had to happen for Laura to wake up, but I hope she realizes that the frog she's poking is a dragon. But that's the way it goes, isn't it? College students are wide-eyed and optimistic and passionate. They're exposed to the injustice in the world and after a lifetime of what feels like oppression in precollegiate schooling, they arrive at college with a big chunk of freedom and suddenly the world is theirs to tackle. In some ways, this is great; many, many of our best scientific and societal discoveries were made by young people who felt they were beyond limitations. But there is a flip side to that coin; there is the discovery of the limits. Did you know that in mathematics, there are problems that we've proven are impossible to solve? That the term "observable universe" refers to the hard edge of space past which we will ever be able to perceive? That the majority of all literary works are lost forever? That of the thousands of hours of television broadcast during its dawning, we have but a few hours? That some of the greatest films of all time are just gone?


LaFontaine is gone. Save them.

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