|“||Everyone wins! Even if it seems like some of the everyones are gone, or absorbed, or dead. This is just part of the natural process of winning.||”|
StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated is a mysterious private corporation that used to run the town of Desert Bluffs and, for a shorter while, took control of the town of Night Vale. Following Night Vale's rebellion, it was bought by the Angels, who have dismantled it.
StrexCorp promotes the worship of a "smiling god," and routinely releases announcements pressuring citizens to improve their productivity and extend their work hours. It is hinted they may be involved in cybernetics; their Strex Pet is described as being not wholly biological, as is Daniel, an office manager they sent to oversee Cecil's radio show. Kevin also offered Steve Carlsberg the chance to 'fix' his stepdaughter Janice who is in a wheelchair, but it is unknown if that would have involved mechanical enhancements or induction into the cult of the Smiling God.
StrexCorp in Desert Bluffs
StrexCorp was a dominating presence in Desert Bluffs long before it arrived in Night Vale. According to Kevin, a radio host in Desert Bluffs, the local government is too disorganized to keep the town in order, and so the town is instead maintained by StrexCorp. StrexCorp provides the citizens of Desert Bluffs with trade schools, regulated behaviors, insurance, helpful pandemics, and black helicopters, services that are mostly provided by the City Council in Desert Bluffs' sister city, Night Vale. The relatively sunny outlook of Desert Bluffs citizens, despite the fact that their environment is apparently even more terrible than Night Vale, seems to have been imposed upon them by StrexCorp's aggressive corporatist propaganda. Kevin later says that he was severely injured and mentally hurt as he tried to defend his radio station from StrexCorp.
After StrexCorp was purchased and dismantled by the Angels, Desert Bluffs was left in a catastrophic situation, suffering a severe recession and economical collapse, that led to the town being merged into Night Vale.
StrexCorp in Night Vale
On October 1, 2013, StrexCorp began dropping leaflets from yellow helicopters upon the town of Night Vale. Each leaflet was marked with a triangular logo that had an orange 'S' in the middle, and inside StrexCorp's motto was written:
Look around you: Strex.
Look inside you: Strex.
Go to sleep: Strex.
Believe in a smiling god.
StrexCorp. It is everything.
Night Vale's City Council seemed to regard StrexCorp's arrival as a threat. However, shortly after their leaflet campaign, StrexCorp purchased Night Vale Community Radio, and radio host Cecil Palmer was forced to broadcast StrexCorp's propaganda alongside the City Council's.
By January 2014, despite their failure to stamp out a violent underground resistance movement, StrexCorp owned virtually every business in Night Vale, and their authority apparently eclipsed that of the City Council. The Sheriff's Secret Police were bound to obey commands from StrexCorp management, and StrexCorp had the power to proclaim and enforce bans on common local activities, such as the manufacture and use of bloodstones.
Anti-StrexCorp Resistance Movement in Night Vale
13-year-old Night Vale resident Tamika Flynn, famed for her violent victory over Night Vale's fearsome librarians, began organizing an anti-StrexCorp resistance movement in the form of an organized child militia in the Sand Wastes in mid-November, 2013. When pressed for comment on her militia's activities, Flynn answered only with a defiant rejection of StrexCorp's motto:
We do not look around.
We do not look inside.
We do not sleep.
Our god is not a smiling god.
And we are ready for this war.
Since the organization of her militia, StrexCorp has attempted to apprehend Flynn without success. On December 1, 2013, Flynn's militia successfully brought down one of StrexCorp's yellow helicopters using only rocks and slingshots, and took the helicopter's female pilot captive for unknown reasons.
Although Cecil Palmer was a StrexCorp employee, he supported the anti-StrexCorp resistance movement to whatever extent he could, going so far as secretly hijacking Night Vale Community Radio to broadcast forbidden news of Tamika Flynn's victories to the citizens of Night Vale. This forbidden news was delivered to Palmer by officers of the Sheriff's Secret Police, who also seem to have supported the resistance movement, despite their apparent obedience to StrexCorp's management. When Palmer is forced to report StrexCorp propaganda, he often adds his own color to the broadcasts, revealing his true feelings on the matter. For instance, when forced to condemn Tamika Flynn's defiant protest of the ban of bloodstone circles, he explained, "This was wrong of her, and it is my duty to condemn her act of extreme civic pride and heroism. Which is also wrong. Everything was incorrect and not allowed, and should not be celebrated, or reported on."
On April 1, 2014, Cecil asked his listeners to purchase Girl Scout cookies from his "niece," a "specific young woman with helicopter skills" who may or may not be an alias of Tamika Flynn. Cecil thanked those who purchased the cookies for empowering kids who will one day rise up and speak a great truth while waving tear-stained copies of Elizabeth Barret Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, but his attempts to clandestinely fund the resistance alerted StrexCorp executives to the existence of the Girl Scouts of Night Vale. StrexCorp promptly purchased the organization in order to gain access to their databases, which they hoped would aid them in their manhunt for Tamika Flynn and her comrades.
Cecil's insubordination does not seem to have gone completely unnoticed by his StrexCorp managers. On March 15, 2014, the station management gave him the unannounced gift of a vicious, deadly bio-mechanical StrexPet, which they later claimed was a "birthday present," although it was not actually Cecil's birthday; it is possible that this was a thinly veiled attempt on Cecil's life. Cecil is particularly resentful of this incident, especially for the injuries the station pet Khoshekh sustained at the hands of the StrexPet.
On May 1, 2014, Cecil and Tamika teamed up to launch a rebellion against StrexCorp on Parade Day, with Tamika sending out morse code messages encouraging Night Vale, and Cecil using passive-aggressive remarks to announce the event before full-out asking Night Vale citizens to join. Unfortunately, no one joined Tamika's army, and she was captured, while Cecil was confronted by his manager Lauren and Desert Bluffs' Kevin, who took over the Night Vale broadcast on May 15, 2014, denying Cecil had ever worked for the radio station.
On June 1, 2014, StrexCorp decided to launch a massive renovation of Night Vale, planning to demolish nearly all buildings in town, and rebuilding them. This plan met resistance when outgoing Mayor Pamela Winchell, Old Woman Josie, and the Angels launched a protest at the vacant lot proclaiming to be the future site of the Old Night Vale Opera House. Soon after, through the help of the Angels and Intern Dana, Cecil was able to escape the company picnic, and retake Night Vale Community Radio, chasing out Lauren and Kevin, and declaring a new rebellion against StrexCorp.
Finally, Night Vale citizens united and in a joint effort, with the help of the Angels and the masked army, the city overthrew Strexcorp. The town was back in the hands of its original sinister masters, rather than in the hands of the more sinister new masters. This rebellion also led to the fall of StrexCorp, that was bought by the Angels.
The Smiling God
StrexCorp's official motto is apparently a paean to an omnipresent Smiling God that exists around us, within us, and even inside of our dreams. Although the loyal executives and managers of StrexCorp usually present themselves as mundane corporate professionals, Cecil Palmer has observed his StrexCorp supervisors pressing themselves against the wall in the break room and endlessly chanting, "I take my warmth from your great warmth, I take my warmth from your great warmth."
The Smiling God was later described in a StrexCorp radio advertisement as having a smile so wide that people could see themselves in its mirrored teeth, and that a thick, pink, gray, wet tongue could be seen pressing through the teeth. The Smiling God's mirrored teeth reflect a person's "perfect self" while the Smiling God's grotesque tongue reflects a person's "imperfect self", whom the listener is urged to kill. It is possible that this philosophy suggests a connection between StrexCorp and the March 15, 2013 invasion of Night Vale and Desert Bluffs by malevolent doppelgangers.
Intern Dana's contact with the Smiling God
The Smiling God exists, although probably not exclusively, in the barren alternate reality that Dana accessed via the The Dog Park. On February 15, 2014, Dana discovered an abandoned settlement in a tightly wound, spiral-shaped gorge. Along the walls of the gorge, Dana observed drawings of orange triangles, not unlike the StrexCorp logo, that grew larger and larger as she descended further into the gorge. The triangles emitted a soft light that caused Dana sharp physical pain, but she found that she could not look away. She somehow knew that the inhabitants of the abandoned settlement had been good people, but had been taken away by something much larger and stronger than they were. "There is something coming, Cecil," Dana warned, like a hot wind blowing, or like a deathly cold, vast creature rushing at us out of the gaps of time and memory with which we hold together our lives. On the horizon, she saw a light like the soft light of the triangles in the spiral, and claimed it was the "unraveling of all things."
By April 15, 2014, the light had grown much closer to Dana, and it was spreading across the endless desert, "Alive, and malicious, and vast, and encroaching." All who observed the light were harmed by it, and all who were within the light were destroyed by it. In an apparent trance, neither understanding how he knew what he knew or why he should explain what he knew to his audience, Cecil Palmer explained that the malevolent light was a Smiling God of terrible power and ceaseless appetite, and its intent was to devour everything that exists. Cecil did, however, hint that the smiling god takes different forms on different planes of existence and would likely not appear as a vast, spreading light to the citizens of Night Vale.
J.P. Oranges and J.P.'s OJ
These transdimensional oranges and orange products, which had the unfortunate side effect of causing customers to cease to exist forever, were produced by J.P.'s OJ, Ltd., of which StrexCorp is a majority shareholder. It is also noteworthy that the J.P.'s OJ logo featured a cartoon sun with a strained, toothy smile, a possible depiction of the Smiling God, and that J.P.'s OJ was not founded by John Peters—you know, the farmer?—but rather by an evil doppelganger of John Peters—you know, the imposter?—who may have been John Peters' "perfect self", to use the parlance of StrexCorp.
One of these malevolent, dangerous bio-machines was given to Cecil Palmer as a "gift" by his StrexCorp managers. Cecil described it as having huge duck eyes, puffy fur like that of a bear cub, a thick round belly, and no discernible arms and legs, but only little nubs that flit about as it slowly moves across the ground. It makes a sound like a mouse squeak combined with a bike horn combined with a sincere question about love. Cecil initially believed the StrexPet was adorable, but it later viciously attacked him, and somehow knocked the bathroom door off of its hinges in pursuit and grievously wounded the station pet Khoshekh before ultimately being deactivated by Animal Control.
Kevin also apparently received a StrexPet. "Oh, it is the cutest! I take it for walks, I throw sticks at it, I tell it my worst secrets!" He also feeds it mice, possibly either in an attempt at sabotage or simply out of sadism.
StrexCorp proposed to tear down the library and replace it with StrexBooks purchase centers.
Lauren is the highest ranking met member of StrexCorp, having risen in the ranks on-air from Station Manager of Night Vale Community Radio, to Vice-President of the company, and
owner community supporter of Night Vale.
Kevin seems to be Cecil's closest counterpart in Desert Bluffs, being the local community radio host. In StrexCorp's takeover of Night Vale, he has acted as Lauren's right-hand man.
In StrexCorp's counter attack, they have unleashed a seemingly endless horde of office drones. They sound somewhat similar to Kevin, being eyeless and covered in blood splotches.
In Real Life
"Strex" is the brand name of a line of products released by Amuza, Inc., a biotechnology company headquartered in San Diego, U.S and founded in 2012. The logo for Strex appears to be modeled on a smiling face, and further research tends to support the relationship between the real and fictional Strex.
In the company's mission statement, the five daily practices that all employees must follow include:
- Be ridiculously open-minded
- "Swallow before digesting."
- Possess Strong Willpower
- "So many difficulties and obstacles are in the way of our business. Conquer the obstacles."
- Take actions and challenge with courage
- "Everything changes even if you resist."
- Be kind, sincere and thankful
- "Our business is something making our society better. We possess love, altruistic minds. Feeling thankfulness and saying thank you is the first step."
- Smile! Have fun
- "When living cheerful and positive, things move toward positive. Especially when we get into tough situations, you remind yourself to smile. Make your job fun. The process to make the job fun is already fun. Let’s go to the Amuzament park!"
The nature of the final, apparently metaphorical (though possibly euphemistic) phrase may have some correlation to the "company picnic" which the fictional StrexCorp enthusiastically gave for the citizens of Night Vale. The fact that "Smile" is given as a command, and that the logo contains what is clearly a smiling face, is further indication of their commitment to "fun" and "happiness".
Naturally, all resemblance between StrexCorp and Strex is coincidental. The brand name is likely based on the primary function of Strex products: to stretch cell and tissue substrates. Since "Amuza" is the Esperanto word for "fun", the focus on happiness in the mission statement is also explained.
However, if any of their stockholders are reading this and have noticed an uptick in the number of helicopters owned by the company, they are advised to alert the wider Night Vale Fandom community immediately, as there may be only one group of bibliophile children capable of righting their wrongs.
- Spelling of StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated
- Episode 19A "The Sandstorm (Part A)"
- Episode 19B "The Sandstorm (Part B)"
- Episode 7 "History Week"
- Episode 83 "One Normal Town"
- Episode 32 "Yellow Helicopters"
- Episode 39 "The Woman from Italy"
- Episode 45 "A Story About Them"
- Episode 28 "Summer Reading Program"
- Episode 35 "Lazy Day"
- Episode 36 "Missing"
- Episode 38 "Orange Grove"
- Episode 44 "Cookies"
- Episode 43 "Visitor"
- Episode 46 "Parade Day"
- Episode 48 "Renovations"
- Episode 49B "Old Oak Doors Part B"
- Episode 42 "Numbers"
- Episode 41 "WALK"
- Episode 49A "Old Oak Doors Part A"
- Amuza LinkedIn Page. https://www.linkedin.com/company/amuza-inc/about/
- About Amuza. https://amuzainc.com/about-amuza/