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The Department of Variance of Somewhere, Ohio
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The Department of Variance of Somewhere, Ohio

Author: Rat Grimes

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A shady governmental group that deals with supernatural entities experiences a containment breach at its main office. One new hire and one mid-level employee from the Bureau of Transnatural Resources are stuck on different floors when the lockdown begins. The two employees, Scarlet Jaunt and Jasmine Control, will have to work together however they can to escape the hostile creatures, shifting architecture, and invasive noises all around them.

Go to somewhereohio.com for full cast information, transcripts, and more!
27 Episodes
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The Department of Variance of Somewhere, Ohio A new sci-fi horror audio drama set in the midwest. A shady governmental group that deals with the supernatural experiences a containment breach at its main office. One new hire and one mid-level employee--Jasmine Control and Scarlet Jaunt--are stuck on different floors when the lockdown begins. They will have to communicate and get to the bottom of the skyscraper however they can. Not all is as it seems in the Department, however… Very queer, both in the story and behind the scenes. About sound, identity, and memory. From the same creator as the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio! Launcing December 7th. Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes.
This week, we're releasing a play session of the upcoming indie tabletop game Triangle Agency by Haunted Table Games, starring the voices of Scarlet (Em Carlson), Violet (Tatiana Gefter), Green (William A. Wellman), and Fern Daemon (Taylor Michaels), and it's GMed by one of the creators, Caleb Zane Huett.  Follow these supernatural office workers as they try to avoid standing out at a frat party and attempt to contain three dangerous anomalies disguised therein. It's not directly related to the Department of Variance, but the game is heavily inspired by Control (like the DoV), and has related vibes.  I also wanted to spotlight another great indie creator in a similar genre, even if it's a different medium. There's no transcript quite yet. I'm working on it, but since there's no base script to work from, it takes a LOT longer. Don't forget to check out their crowdfunding campaign!  Trascript available here! *** CWs, some spoilers: alcohol, animal death (supernatural entity in the form of a dog)
Season 2 of the Department of Variance of Somewhere, Ohio will begin December 6, 2023! Subscribe wherever you get podcasts, or visit our website to listen. If you want each episode one week early, subscribe to our patreon!
Episode 1: The Department of Variance, a clandestine government agency, experiences a crisis and the building goes into lockdown. Two employees–Jasmine Control and Scarlet Jaunt–are stuck on different floors as the emergency begins. The two must communicate and get to the bottom of the skyscraper however they can. (CWs: voice modulation, implied death, strong language) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Episode 2: Bored

Episode 2: Bored

2022-12-0719:01

Jasmine learns more about her new employer via Sterling Proof, Scarlet learns more about Jasmine, and Jasmine learns more about herself. (CWs: Strong language, depression) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Scarlet leads Jasmine through sand dunes, and Jasmine makes an administrative decision. (CWs: mention of torture, strong language) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Episode 4: Resumes

Episode 4: Resumes

2022-12-2119:29

Scarlet tells Jasmine about her past, and makes an exasperated call. (CWs: blood, injury, depression, food, drug and alcohol references, strong language) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com Visit Spirit Box Radio's website for more info
Jasmine looks for help from maintenance to get down to the next floor. Scarlet gets vulnerable. (CWs: drug mentions--weed, lsd--, insects, strong language) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Jasmine enters the Psychedelics Lab. Scarlet grows frustrated as Jasmine expands her mind and a new threat emerges. (CWs: drug mentions [weed, lsd], brief allusion to torture, voice modulation,  death). Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Episode 7: Scream

Episode 7: Scream

2023-01-1827:49

Chased by a faceless terror, Jasmine has to take a jaunt. Scarlet and Jasmine talk horror and fun. Jasmine takes a dip, and Violet answers Sterling’s call. (CWs: water, food, body horror, blood, strong language). Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Jasmine loses contact with Scarlet. Violet helps Jasmine navigate the Dead Letter Office overflow storage (or doesn’t), and Jasmine meets an Operator. Now the game is up.  (CWs: cops, food, relationship discussions, body horror, psychedelics mention) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! Hell Gate City is streaming now at http://hellgatecity.com In this award-winning comedy fiction podcast, a radio jockey in the future uses a newfangled device to live-stream his nightmares for ratings. All hell breaks loose. CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Scarlet is determined to find Jasmine and get out together. Sterling’s not in control. Scarlet confronts a fascist nightmare. A student reveals what she’s learned to her teacher. (CWs: voice modulation, death mentions, body horror, guns, food, strong language) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! Hell Gate City is streaming now at http://hellgatecity.com In this award-winning comedy fiction podcast, a radio jockey in the future uses a newfangled device to live-stream his nightmares for ratings. All hell breaks loose. CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Jasmine and Violet watch some movies, Scarlet continues her search with help from Lapis, and the motivations behind this new hire are revealed. (CWs: weapons, worms, body horror) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Episode 11: Game Night

Episode 11: Game Night

2023-02-1415:44

Some months before the incident, Scarlet, Violet, Lapis, and Copper View play a tabletop game with Fern Daemon, head of IT. A tense game leads to a couple parting ways. (CWs: death, guns, food, unwanted flirting) Check out our website for more info and transcripts! Join our Patreon for early access! See our Carrd for social media links and more! Extra music:  EP 11: Medieval Loop One by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Battle Of The Creek by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The Streets Of Prague by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)  
Jasmine, Scarlet, and Violet navigate the Library Maze, with some assistance from the librarian. (CWs: depression, death, guns, injury, fire, strong language, mentioning vomit) Check out our website for transcripts and more info! Join our Patreon for early access and more! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes.
Gabe returns to help Jasmine, Scarlet, and Violet get to Sterling’s lab. Jasmine makes a startling discovery, and Sterling makes a hard choice. It’s all down from here. (CWs: insects, insect noises, fire, death, strong language) Check out our website for transcripts and more info! Join our Patreon for early access and more! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes.
Jasmine and Scarlet reach the lobby, where they find someone missing and confront the real antagonist. Jasmine receives a call. The end is the beginning is the end. (CWs: guns, bullying, implied homophobia, death) Check out our website for transcripts and more info! Join our Patreon for early access and more! See our Carrd for social media links and more! CREDITS: Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Find Under the Electric Stars at undertheelectricstars.com, their twitter, and their tumblr!
Jasmine Control, a new hire at a shady governmental agency called The Department of Variance, went through an extended supernatural orientation that ended with her manager, Yellow Access, trying to meld the minds of every worker in the office. To save her friend Scarlet Jaunt from death at the hands of her new boss, Jasmine used her newly discovered psychic abilities to jump into the past, to a point where Scarlet was alive. She miscalculated, and now she’s stuck in Scarlet’s memories from 10 years ago. This season picks up with Jasmine, Scarlet, Violet, and Daryll visiting the woods to see a lunar eclipse after their senior year of high school, ten years prior to the events of season one. But something else is lurking in the woods with them. Something…midwestern. The friends will have to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it if they ever want to escape, and if Jasmine ever wants to return to her normal life. Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast of episode 1: Cody Heath, Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Tatiana Gefter, Dexter Howard, Lena Garcia. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com (CWs: alcohol, food, smoking, derealization) ___ TRANSCRIPT: ORANGE: It’s just as Green said: the stairway to heaven is always moving. I figured I was on the first step when I heard the cat in the diner. I was heading to a little city in Michigan. I know, I know; “Orange Splice? In the field? Shouldn’t you be behind a desk at the Commission signing off on quarterlies?” But on some cases I can’t help myself. I can tell you that Red’s disciplinary report’s gonna have a lot of Orange in it. So this little city in Michigan, an industrial husk of a place. Full of slick palms and the poor souls wriggling between their fingers. I packed my bag and blew the joint. I slept in my rumbling hatchback on the way, and I ate and bathed as the great American trucker does. As I crested the overpass bend on the final leg of the drive, I saw a city blooming with rot. Squat brick piles wheezing into the streets, oily sunlight, cars bleeding rust into the earth. Plumes of gray hovered over the place, like cotton soaked with kerosene. One little spark and the whole thing could blow. Maybe we’d all be better off if it did. Maybe we’re better off forgetting places like this. Scooping out what little’s worth saving and dumping the rest. Writing them off as a loss–another failure in the long lineage of midwestern decline. Or maybe it’s not that simple. I wasn’t going to Deerland to set it ablaze, after all. I was being led there for something else. And so I rode up through the boiling roadkill highways of vulture county, past towns so small you could hear every single prayer on a quiet night. By antique malls decked with the heraldry of genocide. Under billboards letting you know you’re fucked before you even get there: Hell is real, and it’s about 25 miles that way. I was going up there to find Olivia, now designated Jasmine Control by the Department. First saw her face on a milk carton, and I didn’t even know they still did that. Maybe they don’t. I slid downstairs that morning in a haze, a little box of strawberry milk I’d bought from the grocer in my hand. The milk itself didn’t last long. I turned the empty carton over in my hand, then unfolded and tore open the bottom. I held it up to my ear and listened for the ocean. *sounds as room ambience becomes waves and various sounds* ORANGE: I heard through and beyond the carton, through my wall and the early pink light outside, through misty pines and hundreds of miles of the big flat nothing. Through and before my life, and after too, and into a hip spot in Deerland, a coffeeshop on the corner that used to be three apartments. The tip jar on the counter was a glass milk jug filled with quarters and crumpled singles. And taped to the side was a photo and one word: MISSING—Olivia…Olivia. I exited the highway on the right, tires sizzling down the griddlehot blacktop of the narrow streets of Deerland, Michigan. I’d need somewhere to stay in this weather. Cruised a while and found a place overlooking a decaying mall: Hotel 7. One better than Motel 6, the owner assured me through a pushbroom mustache. One worse than Super 8, I thought. Next I needed food. I was wading through thick waves of exhaustion by then, rolling slowly but surely onward, bowled over by the blindfolds and needles of fate. On the way to my room, I stepped into a corridor dripping with window unit condensation and lined with posters. MISSING. A face repeated in nine squares. I shook my head and stared deep into the paper. GIRL MISSING. I got caught on the origin of the word, germanic, maybe dutch. Gone, disappeared, vanished, typically without a trace. To be absent. In absentia. Guilt without a face, death without a body. Holes in the ground, gaps in memory. The girl on the flyer opened her mouth and said something I couldn’t hear. Her breath caught in the humid air, suspended green in the neon glow overhead. I fumbled with my lighter in my pocket. I flicked it on and patted my coat pockets. No pack. I hadn’t had a smoke in two years. That’d change soon. High above, rising over the fire escape and ascending into the sick bruised sky, I saw two glowing spheres. The kid’s breath vanished and so did I. Once again back at my kitchen table, soggy milk carton in my hand. If you were in my place, Green, what would you have done with your life? If you saw what was coming. Dive headfirst or take a dive? Deerland or Des Moines? After that first vision, I made the choice quicker than I’d like to admit. I dove, deep and breathless, into the variant night. Wait, let me back up. I’ll tell you how it happened chronologically–ontologically–not how my brain stitched it together. See, in my head I had already been to Deerland via milky astral lanes, already tried the coffee and divined the lines in the sidewalks. I was three days ahead of myself. Psychic lag. Pages colored in without lines. I would be there in three days’ time. I would seek out Olivia, this missing girl, and a creeping feeling told me there’d be more to it than that. More Departmental business, which meant more paperwork. Figured I might as well get packing, I was in for a long night. *** NARRATOR 1 (italics until Nyarrator/Narrator 2 shows up in ep 8 are Narrator 1, played by Rat): Jasmine looked around the jeep, trying to center herself. She was lightheaded, dizzy. She couldn’t tell if it was a side effect of the binding agonist or if this situation was just too much for her mind to handle. Psionic nausea. OLIVIA: Is this how Green felt all the time? It was not. ASH: Look, Jasmine, you don’t know me, but I’m going to help you however I can from the wire. I used to work for the Department, as well. Assigned name Ash Chorus, stationed with the Dead Letter Office, then the…the division of Fictobiology. I’ve been sort of…telling your story for you, as strange as that sounds. I may have gotten a few things wrong, but I think I captured the heart of it. And I will continue to do so. I only ask one thing of you, and recommend another: do not mention me to anyone, and do not tell the others what you’ve done. ALEX: Dude, who are you talking to? OLIVIA: Oh, it’s just my mom making sure we got here okay. You know how she is. ALEX: I guess. We met a couple times, right? Whatever, we’re almost at the clearing. This is gonna be epic. OLIVIA: Yeah, uhh “epic.” Hold on. *quieter, on phone with Ash* What the hell is going on? How do I get back to my time? ASH: I…I’m uncertain. What I do know is this: you’re in a memory, not in the past. For the time being, dispense with any theorizing and stick to what we know for sure: you, Jasmine, are in a memory from a little over 10 years ago, and that goo you drank that let you do this has worn off.  Now you can’t get out—a jaunt gone wrong—and you’re just going to have to live through this memory, however long it lasts. OLIVIA: I guess that’s why it was Scarlet’s last resort when I was being chased. But still, she was dying, I had to do something! ASH: I know, I know. Keep your phone with you, and hold it to your ear if you need to talk to me. I’ll help however I can in my limited capacity. Now hang up, you’ve been on the line too long and Scarlet’s getting suspicious. OLIVIA: Okay, okay. *click, then quietly:* How did they know all that? The simplest explanation was that Ash Chorus was not real. They were as much a phantasm as this place, this metastatic memory structure. Like the larks, the butterflies, bigfoot. OLIVIA: They’re…you’re fictobiological. Sterling would have a heart attack. Wait, so you’re like a cryptid or something? Can you tell me if Nessie’s real? In a sense, Olivia was right. But now was not the time to speak with the air. Her compatriots were growing concerned. OLIVIA: Fine, I’ll stop talking to the first fictional person I’ve ever heard. Normal world. Olivia recalled the advice of her father: the best way out is through. All she needed to do was live through this moment. This wasn’t the past, and she had no way of altering what happened here. The only thing that could change was her mind. NADIA: Is she good? She’s muttering and looks like she’s gonna hurl. OLIVIA: Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Do you have anything to drink? DARYLL: Ch’yeah, dig this. Daryll took one hand off the jeep’s wheel and leaned forward, reaching into a bag at Violet’s–Nadia’s–feet. He rifled around and pulled out a familiar blue and white can. He tossed one blindly into the back, and Jasmine fumbled the catch. Scarlet–Alex–snagged the can and cracked it open, taking a long sip before handing it to Jasmine and wiping the foam from her mouth. ALEX: Hope you like the bitter stuff. It was not the bitter stuff, it was gas station party fodder. OLIVIA: Ugh. I was thinking more like, water? Or Gatorade? *pause* Hey, wait. You’re eigh
After the startling discovery at the end of the last episode, the four friends venture deeper into the woods. In the sweltering night, they find an unexpected ally and a new enemy. (CWs: smoking, food, body horror, some gore, worms) Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast of episode 2: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Tatiana Gefter, Dexter Howard, Mystic Waterz. Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
Olivia and the gang find the planetarium, where they learn more about what's going on in the woods. Green and Sterling have a chat at the airport. (CWs: blood, gore, death, parasitism, alcohol and weed mentioned, muffled audio)   Check out our website for more info! Join our Patreon for early access! CREDITS: Cast of episode 3: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Tatiana Gefter, Dexter Howard, Rae Lundberg Art by NerdVolKurisu Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes. Transcripts available in episode notes at somewhereohio.com
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Comments (3)

Derek Preece

uhh.....what

Jun 6th
Reply

R. Luna

Gotta say, am a bit disappointed in the DM here. Of course, you don't always pick up on this shit and yeah, these are hard to deal with situations. But his pause clearly showed he caught onto it or was at least justifiably confused by his request. Least for a DM to do in that situation is asking the player affected by his actions if they're alright with what's happening. Don't just let a guy clearly trying to force a romantic subtext pick up the PC they are into and carry them unless that PC's player had a word in it. I'd have stopped the game then and there and asked what he thinks he's doing. But you don't gotta do that. Still, a GM incapable of addressing it before it explodes is ... troublesome. It happens, I've made mistakes like that plenty. Still unpleasant to hear that as a forever GM.

Mar 6th
Reply

William Golihew

I'm all for the idea of building out the world started in The Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio. I hope to see many more shows from this team in this vein. However, I'm struggling to look past how similar the setup of this show is to Control (or by extension the world of SCP). The show is creative and fun, the team is talented and knows how to delight with weirdness. I will continue listening and trying to work past how the seemingly copied, hyper-specific premise (uninitiated woman trapped in a bizarre and physically erratic, shifting government headquarters which treats terrifying paranormalia with mundane bureaucracy while some sinister force lays seige on the agency and attacks the agents within) repeatedly draws me out of the narrative.

Dec 18th
Reply