by Max Barry

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by The Kingdom of Scorvkent. . 7 reads.

Issue Log 1

#1: #581: Tourists visiting the nation are harangued for being capitalist pig-dogs.
Lore: Why are there immediately tourists visiting us? They are absurd people who buy and sell one another! They dedicate their entire lives to being indistinguishable villains from the ones we vanguished! If they are from far away, they can visit without harm, but we will do our best to convince them of the error of their ways.
#2: #1031: Seven-year-olds debate for weeks on the merits of the Oxford comma.
Lore: Hm. Our children want to study the cultural artifacts of the nation we destroyed. Let's keep them back from the music, but these grammar texts look harmless.

#3: #152: The words 'private' and 'enterprise' must never appear in the same sentence.
Lore: Some of the people reading this other country's books and talking to travelers believe we should adopt more of the foreigners' beliefs. Those beliefs are rude. Let's not.
#4: #1048: It turns out that you actually can put a price on intangible cultural heritage.
Lore: Let's just sell off some of the more troublesome artifacts. They'll be no temptation if they aren't here anymore.

#5: #1088: The government terminates employment with extreme prejudice.
Lore: If officials are unfit, we'll do what we did to the unfit people whose land we currently rule.
#6: #534: The only things Scorvkentians vote on are cutest citizen favoring environmentalism competitions.
Lore: Ah, animals.
#7: #1092: The men in trenchcoats hanging around playgrounds are actually police officers.
Lore: We've dug up police profiling manuals from the ruins! These will surely help us maintain law and order!
#8: #55: Members of majority races are forced out of their homes to make way for Bigtopians.
Lore: Attestations to the foreigners... clearly we want these people... wait, no! They're terribly rude! Oh no!
#9: #522: Students memorise knock-knock jokes for their mandatory twice-a-term Comedy Examinations.
Lore: Comedy textbooks..?
#10: #341: The national guard is mobilized whenever a mother gets separated from her child at the mall.
Lore: Maybe this is working out okay.
#11: #1237: Police reduce their paperwork by refusing to arrest anyone.
Lore: Heh. Our peoples' use of force is so infamous that we can direct our police towards finding lost children without anyone taking advantage of - or even suspecting - the gap.

#12: #14: Military funding has been stripped back.
Lore: We don't need all this.
#13: #448: Parents who fail mandatory parenting classes risk having their children taken away.
Lore: We've found information archives of pedagogy and parenting! This is... Oh, this is risky. This is the kind of material that might have destroyed a civilization's spirit before we arrived to tear down its remainder. On the other hand, what could be a better example of information we could use to better our own people, if it's valid? Let's try it.
#14: #124: Only the brainiest citizens become academics.
Lore: To prevent this knowledge from becoming dangerous, it's time we reinforced our precautions against wider discovery. Besides, if we need to step back on what we've just implemented about parenting laws, this will make removing dangerous information feasible...
#15: #37: The government snoops on private internet connections.
Lore: Further information controls. We don't need 'freedom'. Scorvkent is nothing but etiquette forever. We'll destroy anyone who isn't polite.

#16: #705: It is illegal to distribute Girl Guide Cookies without an advanced food hygiene diploma.
Lore: Tainted foods are ruuuude.
#17: #174: Untold millions of vahts are going into a new government-funded maternity leave scheme.
Lore: Does it make any sense to say, "We'll build an economy when we can build it politely?" We're doing it either way.
#18: #366: Fancy dress parties are raided by military police for new recruits.
Lore: Only those who have credentials should claim credentials.
#19: #491: The citizenship exam requires years of study to actually pass.
Lore: Do people actually want to move here?

#20: #1138: Fat-shaming is now public policy.
Lore: Hm... Wait... Was that actually polite..? Maybe we should focus that energy on medical technologies.
#21: #276: Clowns are being rounded up and admitted to mental institutions.
Lore: Sad entertainers don't sound very effective. We should do something to help. We've had some luck deploying these recovered psychology texts... We don't seem to be making our society more rude so far.
#22: #154: Skateparks can be found in every city.
Lore: Skateboarding is okay if people want to do that. There's nothing intrinsically rude about skateboarding. Skateboarding is orthogonal to rudeness.
#23: #24: Citizens are enjoying a recent large cut in taxes.
Lore: When there's room in the budget for the things we want to do and for a tax cut as well, that's excellent.

24: #60: The judicial branch is strongly influenced by the Communist Party.
Lore: We need to be protected in meeting our priorities... wait. This didn't create a community that seems more polite at all.
25: #1133: An increasing number of citizens believe the world is flat.
Lore: Oh no, this is going terribly wrong!
26: #71: The government is attempting to impose a new national language on the public.
Lore: The day is saved! Good thing Scorvkentians will do literally anything for politeness!

27: #551: The Finance Ministry posts hourly updates on where taxpayer money is spent.
Lore: ...
28: #624: Six-year-old children playing dress-up are viewed with suspicion.
Lore: These texts describing strange, impossible roles can't possibly be healthy for people. They might make people desire the impossible, like living forever.
29: #1158: Women who walk into the ladies' changing room are accused of being Peeping Toms.
Lore: This is more polite, right..? Well... No, apparently it is not, but now slightly more people are capable of performing Scorvkent's etiquette.

30: #811: Dessert dishes make up the Scorvkentian breakfast menu.
Lore: It isn't rude.
31: #565: Exam halls are littered with used needles and empty pill bottles.
Lore: It isn't rude.
32: #486: The army lures cannon fodder with promises of a college education.
Lore: We rely on the army to enforce our information access restrictions, so it's only natural that they'd be both exposed to new information and competently able to recruit among the curious.

33: #145: The wearing and manufacture of fur apparel is banned.
Lore: Rather rude to skin an animal, isn't it?
34: #1116: Arriving late for dinner is considered the height of selfishness.
Lore: More to the point, if a restaurant short of more conventional options is serving proletarian gumbo, it is best to arrive with sufficient planning or sufficient patience... our agriculture is weak, but we are polite enough to make this work. It would be wasteful to not use this resource of our spirit.
35: #925: Kids these days know how to throw a proper punch.
Lore: Eh. Sure, professional boxers, whatever. Hey, wait, the nation got very slightly more rude for that, didn't it? Some of these professional boxers arrive late for dinner! Terrible people. More will have to be done.

(The government was recovering from being punched out and did nothing.)

36: #354: Citizens have never heard foreign radio.
Lore: ...
37: #557: The hills are alive with the sound of ringtones.
Lore: Wait, what? When did this happen?
38: #435: It is impossible to get any work done as auditors swarm every inch of government factories and mines.
Lore: If someone were really effective, fully recording their methodologies would improve our procedures.
39: #44: Torture is illegal.
Lore: Torturing people is ALWAYS RUDE! If auditors find torture, IT STOPS!
40: #35: The nation has opened its arms to an influx of refugees.
Lore: As long as refugees are polite, we'll try to protect them from torturers in other nations. Letting people have more rights is okay as long as they're using them politely. Good Scorvkentians only kill rude people!

41: #1181: The saying 'break a leg' is now taken literally.
Lore: Harmless.
42: #100: The government has started a campaign to crack down on road rage and encourage alternate means of commuting.
Lore: Hmm, Scorvkentians are so polite that maybe there's no gain to be made here, but... we should at least try opposing road rage lest we find ourselves rewarding it with expanding roadways.

43: #1008: Troublemakers boast about how many times they have to visit their therapist.
Lore: Schools are exactly for controlling how children think.
44: #245: Immigrants are required to salute the flag five times a day
Lore: Do people actually want to move here?
45: #1183: Female brains are believed to heat up dangerously when 'overclocked'.
Lore: This is going to backfire, this is going to backfire, this is going to backfire... It... didn't backfire? If inclusivity and the black market are plunged simultaneously, does that mean society is driving out black marketers?
46: #1309: The latest superhero movie features a caped citizen opposing environmentalism with adamantium claws.
Lore: We're never really sure whether it's the ones who support or oppose environmentalism who are the national animals.

47: #505: Criminals and college students are taking an interest in the government's new weed-killing program.
Lore: This might indicate a false etiquette, but the environment in Scorvkent is pretty bad...
48: #61: Notable individuals are granted land and titles.
Lore: Harmless. Probably. I bet we can make reasonably sure we won't be granting notability to tax evaders and ne'er-do-wells this way...
49: #723: THIS SPACE FOR RENT tells rebellious ministers to "drop and give me twenty".
Lore: Were we not already doing this? We should definitely be doing this. Scorvkent only exists because of military leadership, after all.

50: #1013: One does not simply walk into the tundra.
Lore: It's hard, because we don't really have the resources, but we're doing our best to implement all medical technologies.
51: #496: Every workday begins with group therapy.
Lore: ALL medical technologies.

52: #1104: Newspapers print only headlines.
Lore: Easter egg! Have you ever tried reading the article that prints on every single newspaper in this game? It's just another reminder that caring too much means you're the butt of the joke.
53: #774: Dubiously qualified East Lebatuckese doctors prescribe ice baths as a treatment for pneumonia.
Lore: Scorvkentians accept people if they're polite, not if they're qualified... wait! This didn't support politeness at all, oh no! We got tricked!
54: #93: Scorvkent's free colleges struggle to maintain standards in the face of overwhelming demand.
Lore: We'll need to train more of our own to stay competitive, now!
55: #685: Both diets and economic output are growing leaner with recent restrictions to free trade.
Lore: This is necessary... Right? Yet against a general backdrop of rudeness, perhaps horrible people will take advantage when they get to discover themselves to be slightly less rude...

56: #40: Students returning from overseas study are questioning the status quo.
Lore: As long as they aren't coming back rude.
57: #919: Kindergarten teachers with ankle-bracelets are closely supervised by their parole officers.
Lore: We've developed into such a compassionate nation that the difference between Scorvkent and other nations is starting to wear on peoples' hearts...

58: #722: The "feminist protest" defence is increasingly common for cases of armed robbery.
Lore: Crime is okay if it isn't rude.
59: #411: Prudishness is on the way out.
Lore: This will help discourage rudeness. Politeness is what civil rights are for... in Scorvkent!
60: #208: Mining safety laws are often more expensive than what's being mined.
Lore: It hurts to lose so much of our mining industry to this, but allegations of corruption are credible in Scorvkent, and accidental deaths are actually killing a LOT of people in this nation. Ignoring that suffering would be rude.
61: #1078: The contraband cigarette trade is lighting up across Scorvkent.
Lore: The Minister for Health and Ruining Fun is actually really important in Scorvkent.

(The government was futilely opposing the contraband cigarette trade and accomplished nothing.)

62: #884: The Scorvkentian government claim that Scorvkentians are oppressed out of love.
Lore: Someone gets it! Well, maybe. I can only knock on three walls of this house.
63: #604: Prisoners have been known to host cooking and home décor television shows.
Lore: Polite requests, politely answered.
64: #374: Mollycoddled youths run the country.
Lore: Polite!
65: #963: Internet moderators work overtime to remove memes comparing Leader to cartoon bears.
Lore: <3

66: #1146: Basic multiplication is all you need to know to have a child.
Lore: When people ask politely, we step down restrictions. Especially when people ask politely while having minimal risk of criminal implications.

67: #1041: Children who display even minimal sporting aptitude are immediately assigned a personal trainer.
Lore: This gives us a means of checking in on the welfare of children born after the licensing tests were eased.
68: #801: Tom and Jerry cartoons have cat and mouse resolving their problems with reasoned discussion.
Lore: Admitting that politeness can be increased in this manner is somewhat sorrowful, but at least it fits well with the Scorvkentian way.
69: #293: Conductors wield diamond-encrusted batons to fit in with their freshly gilded surroundings.
Lore: To avoid undermining our culture, we can aim a little more highbrow. This once again supports our etiquette.
70: #1059: Children prefer to begin their day with push-ups rather than breakfast.
Lore: That seems improbable, but it is not government force achieving it. Look, the weather is considered better than it was, and our culture is considered better than it was. This surely cannot last, but at least for the moment Scorvkent has taken its culture outdoors.

71: #487: Public shaming is the bedrock of Scorvkentian society.
Lore: The crime rate is so low, and our etiquette is so strong... maybe it's time to see if we can use rehabilitation alone.
72: #733: There are six more weeks of winter if a northerner sees his shadow.
Lore: It's not the time for major expansions of our transit network when our culture is entering such a difficult challenge...
73: #1305: Adults pretending to be teenage girls claim to have wholesome motives.
Lore: Let's see if we can get a well-ordered outcome.

74: #1135: Male cubicle workers stand up every time a woman enters the room.
Lore: Sweep, sweep, messy, messy. Sweep, sweep, messy, messy. Remarkable what people get caught at.
75: #252: The government has adopted a "Lightning Never Strikes Twice" approach to dealing with natural disasters.
Lore: The long way will be a good way.

76: #706: Glamping Scorvkentians won't sleep in a tent that doesn't include a Jacuzzi.
Lore: Practically speaking, this means our camp sites must be very few, because our economy isn't up to the burden of providing a lot. We can offer what we do have as an incentive for labor, and this will help get people outdoors.
77: #58: The government pours millions of vahts into rehabilitation programs annually.
Lore: We don't include such people. I mean, it's not that we would be against sacrifices as such, but they're, well, actually rather rude, and they're not even proposing to target their sacrifices politely or impolitely, so... Really, they should just learn to be good Scorvkentians.
78: #683: Kids who move from attending a public school in the city to the country often struggle in goat milking class.
Lore: Now, see, there's nothing wrong with including this. Once again we get to take our culture out of doors. Scorvkent doesn't have much rural development yet, but we're not against it.

79: #147: Army rations are served on silver platters.
Lore: This will help us towards agricultural development.
80: #959: High school band practice is often crashed by technicolor-clad ravers.
Lore: Interestingly, this seems to have made a few people less specifically law-abiding without making anyone actually criminal.

81: #292: The police strictly enforce off-limit zones for tourists.
Lore: If we stress out the people who provide our nation's charm, they won't be charming anymore.
82: #1108: Scorvkentian Standard Vodka is the only drink that bars stock
Lore: Poisoning people is rude. If alcohol distributors can't poison people cleanly, they can't do it at all.
83: #1029: The government sends submarines to retrieve bodies from shipwrecked submarines.
Lore: Anything... for... our... etiquette..! Nobody is going to even know what we're trying to pull here, but pulled it will be.

84: #192: Kidnapping has become the latest get-rich-quick scheme.
85: #415: Disgruntled jocks are forced to play tetris for entertainment.
Lore: I'm sure there'll be a polite opportunity to rescind the ban eventually!

86: #218: An increasing percentage of the population's youth have homosexual parents.
Lore: We decided that this could be done politely. We aren't just horrible authoritarians for fun, you know. Although... if I may be forgiven for reaching for the last wall, this is probably not a good thing to do in a nation under intense controls. Nothing would stop the leadership from... certain disasters. We'll see to the reckoning; if it's only that one small increase in crime, it will not have been too bad.

87: #566: Traffic cops spend most of their work-hours calculating citizens' monthly income.
Lore: It doesn't really change the tickets much at this level, but it's still polite.
88: #858: A five-year-old and a convicted terrorist can sit alongside one another in jury service.
Lore: Can the nation run like this? Let's try it.

89: #579: Urban graffiti is hand-calligraphed in perfectly kerned elegant fonts.
Lore: Gently woven in our schemes...
90: #420: Many politicians are in rehab for minor drug offenses.
Lore: Honest in our governance... Please work...
91: #121: Students are known to arrive at school in their pyjamas.
Lore: It worked! Youth rebellion up, crime rates down!
92: #422: The military is slashing spending on conventional arms and diverting it to spending on prosthetic arms.
Lore: This was surprisingly difficult. Is it rude to intercept causalities with mechanized equipment? This was like politeness pulling away from militarism.
93: #328: Travel bureaus double as recruiting centers for national intelligence agencies.
Lore: This has a better sound.
94: #639: Cubicles often double as graves as citizens literally work themselves to death.
Lore: What we have begun in honor, let us work to complete.

95: #1005: Parachutes are considered optional with the newest line of jet fighters.
Lore: Admittedly, we are very poor. A cost-effective way to support our military is much appreciated.
96: #692: Airplanes have giant grilles on their noses to knock drones out of their path.
Lore: Hm. That isn't rude. They're wrong about rights, admittedly. It's such suspiciously foreign phrasing.

97: #1073: This year's comedy award has left mothers-in-law seething.
Lore: Oh my! The internet is being used rudely! I'm afraid it's got to go. This is the kind of thing that destroyed those old terrible people we took over from. Before we destroyed them, I mean.
98: #122: Retirement homes are often fitted with luxurious suites.
Lore: These honorable people who have done so much to aid us in our quest should be helped to live as long as we possibly can make them live.
99: #142: The roads are virtually falling apart.
Lore: Alas, the money must be scavenged somewhere. Good thing we still have people researching drones to help us build aerial logistics.

100: #474: Mathematicians are hated by children across the country.
Lore: Shouldn't we refuse before we accept?
101: #424: The navy is chrome-plating its battleships to prevent rust.
Lore: Improving the quality of our manufactured armaments... Just dull government stuff.
102: #75: Criminal rehabilitation takes place in re-education centers.
Lore: It is distinctive to our system of governance that we do not rely on prisons.

103: #599: Debate rages over whether ground fish guts can be spread on fields.
Lore: Hm... Is this the path that Scorvkent should take, dedicating itself to the service of wilderness-loving serial killers?
104: #1262: There's a mortuary next to every Scorvkentian restaurant.
Lore: We have no such traditions! Yet... we could, eventually. We will do this more finely when next it arises. Today our etiquette is weakened, but someday it will be stronger still because of today.
105: #502: The new Citizen Opinionated On Environmentalism Supremacy Party is faring well in the polls.
Lore: Oh my! If there's actual controversy over whether our citizens opinionated on environmentalism are people, perhaps it's time to attempt something radical to restore them to society.

106: #663: People believe that if you teach a man to fish he won't buy fish from you any more.
Lore: How novel! A polite opportunity for economic expansion. Admittedly, it's more technically a politeness-agnostic opportunity for economic expansion than a polite opportunity. To resist overprovisioning-based greed, other nations must be active and resourceful. If they are, then this 'exploitation' can be negated, reversed, or even made mutually beneficial. If they are not, Scorvkent's government will try to distort economies to give its own industries opportunities. Or at least... it would if it provided foreign aid, which it currently does not. The principle is being established when the principle is cheapest.
107: #264: Raindances intended to summon storms instead attract tourists.
Lore: Huh. We've never actually tried that... Let's give it a go.

108: #23: The mining industry is making inroads into environmentally sensitive areas.
Lore: How is that rude? We're a poor nation. We make sacrifices.
109: #483: Political gridlock ensues as even the most innocuous legislation is vetoed by the Supreme Court for potential civil rights violations.
Lore: Hm...

110: #865: Children dream of becoming physicians and physicists.
Lore: Those who live for etiquette are more fondly remembered than those who kill for it.
111: #689: The population's jaw muscles put sharks to shame.
Lore: Faarsiiiide sweep! *Air guitar riff*

112: #673: The nation faces constant invasions by foreign boy bands.
Lore: ..? *shrug*
113: #768: The nation grinds to a halt for afternoon tea.
Lore: Eat my trendline!

114: #274: Annulments are on the rise as couples discover their ancestors were born in the same hospitals.
Lore: This can only raise the HDI.
115: #915: Hazmat suits are a common Scorvkentian garb.
Lore: Etiquette should do something, should it not?
116: #188: The children of @@NAME@@ are often remarked upon for their cheery attitude to extreme violence.
Lore: Hm, something for the kids to do while the nation is quaranting itself in sudden recognition of health hazards. Indoors, an indoors activity...

The Kingdom of Scorvkent