ClaudiusPtolemy on September 18, 2009, 08:55:57 am
Obviously some kind of hidden message in there. My first few guesses for where it was hidden were wrong.

Rocketman on September 18, 2009, 10:58:54 am
The very first thing that I noticed was that the "suicide note" was not in handwriting but in block letter form.  It's fairly easy for a handwriting expert to determine weither or not a handwritten note was from the deceased but a lot harder if someone else had written the note if it's written as block form.   That points towards murder.  :o

ObscureDragom on September 18, 2009, 07:00:38 pm
The advent of computers has largely destroyed "writing" as the preferred method of scribbling down thoughts for preference to the more legible "printing" and it's strong resemblance to typeset.

It doesn't point to murder but it doesn't really point anywhere else.

A very non-pointy note.

Rocketman on September 18, 2009, 10:25:27 pm
While many people now used texting instead of writing it is far from being obsolete.  In my case when I'm writing down an address or a name I usually do block letters but if I'm writing down thoughts or something to send to someone I use standard handwriting.  Maybe it's because I learned to handwrite back in the late 1950's and many people who see it complement me on my penmanship.  I still believe that block lettering in a suicide note which would be an emotional incident points towards murder.

Sean Roach on September 18, 2009, 10:39:18 pm
I think the implication is the deceased was acting like a child, and ran "outside" without a suit to play with the friends that were only in his head.
Whether or not he was murdered hinges on whether or not someone managed to mess with his mental state.

And when I count backwards from three, you will wake up, feeling refreshed.  You will then remember an appointment you have to keep.  You will walk out that door marked "fire escape", and you will walk ten paces forward where you will see a door.  You will see a carpeted hallway extending from the "fire escape" door to the office door where you have your meeting.  You will also see a sign asking you to please remove your shoes before entering the hallway.  You will remove your shoes and drop them next to the child gate that stands between you and the carpet.  You will hop over the child gate.  You will walk ten paces to the door at the end of the nicely carpeted hall.  You will go in that door.
Now I'm going to count backwards from three, and when I get to the end, you will wake up, refreshed, remember your appointment, and go take care of it.  And everything will be okay.
3
2
1

Rocketman on September 20, 2009, 03:41:23 pm
Sean: 
     I kept trying to read your reply but everytime I did I kept finding myself standing outside without any shoes on.   ???

Sean Roach on September 20, 2009, 10:29:02 pm
Yeah, but you were supposed to take a long walk off the fifth story fire escape.

Azure Priest on September 21, 2009, 07:56:26 am
A greatly simplified, and effective,  way to mess with someone's mind, but not the only one. There are ways that take longer and are more insidious. Playing "music" through hidden speakers presumably when your target is alone so only he ever hears it. Having strange images appear/ disappear on the target's walls at work or alone, having objects suddenly "appear" or "move" from their correct location (and it's ruled impossible that someone other than the target can move them), etc. It takes considerably longer, sure, but if you can make your target doubt his own sanity, you can eventually make him do whatever you want, including suicide.

Rocketman on September 21, 2009, 11:45:57 am
A greatly simplified, and effective,  way to mess with someone's mind, but not the only one. There are ways that take longer and are more insidious. Playing "music" through hidden speakers presumably when your target is alone so only he ever hears it. Having strange images appear/ disappear on the target's walls at work or alone, having objects suddenly "appear" or "move" from their correct location (and it's ruled impossible that someone other than the target can move them), etc. It takes considerably longer, sure, but if you can make your target doubt his own sanity, you can eventually make him do whatever you want, including suicide.
   That just might be the perfect crime.  "No. your honor, I didn't kill him."  "He did it himself."

ObscureDragom on September 22, 2009, 01:18:30 am
Making someone doubt their sanity is easy but kind of tricky if your trying to do it intentionally.

Most humans have a canny ability to ignore things that don't make sense.  Up to and including snatching the stapler as it tries to escape off the desk and snickering as it screams in pain every time you staple a receipt to a MA.

I mean it would take years of guilt from emotionally abusing the stapler to truly drive a man mad.

And of course if you pushed to far the more logical part of the mind would have to deal with it.

Like making the Stapler sob after each use would mandate a non working human to immediately dismantle the stapler looking for a micro-phone.  Where as the previous events would clouded under the veil of the "working man's haze"

Azure Priest on September 22, 2009, 02:20:12 am
Ah, but searching for a microphone for "music" that only YOU hear could be construed by your friends as being "not well." If the "music" keeps waking you up at night, if your friends and co-workers help you search for said microphone and nothing is ever found, if your "martian friends" screen saver that appears only when no one else is watching and is never found by your anti-virus software, and your system admin never finds odd or "rogue" files... Your friends, meaning well, might just suggest therapy themselves and start the ball rolling on the whole doubting your sanity.

Brugle on September 22, 2009, 09:29:18 am
I guess that the grad students were messing with Rogers's mind (just for fun, but a little nasty), the murder was staged to look like he went crazy as a result, someone will reveal their mind-messing quickly, it'll take longer for Reggie to figure out how the cover-up was done, and the murderer will get desperate trying to prevent discovery.

quadibloc on September 22, 2009, 09:38:10 am
I had to back up and re-read the last few strips to make sure I hadn't misunderstood the plot. We see Bert saying that Reggie went to Mars to investigate mysterious music, but it turns out that no one admits to knowing anything about any mysterious music - except for the one person who committed suicide, claiming he heard music.

I would have thought that in a situation like that, people would assume this was a hallucination on the part of the deceased, and while some people might look harder for murder, as Reggie is doing, where there is only one witness to the music, and that witness' credibility is undermined by committing suicide under circumstances that make it appear to be due to be a psychosis... even those disposed to believe in ghosts and the like would find little to interest them.

So something else is not adding up, besides what Reggie is seeing as not adding up. Why wouldn't Bert have heard about Reggie going to Mars to investigate a mysterious death, instead of an unexplained phenomenon with a very obvious (even if we have reason to think it false) explanation?

Rocketman on September 22, 2009, 10:52:50 am
Unless the person who asked him to come to Mars to investigate had been told by other people who aren't in the group that they had heard music.

quadibloc on September 22, 2009, 11:17:50 pm
Well, from today's (Tuesday's) comic, it seems clear that the victim was indeed being subjected to gaslighting, as has been noted by others above - and apparently everyone currently being questioned by Reggie has guilty knowledge of that. it's extremely unlikely that they all conspired to murder him, though, so I presume what happened is either that a prank went wrong... or someone took advantage of the situation to commit murder.

The two obvious possibilities are that the message about the Martians calling to him was forged, and he was dragged out the airlock by force... or that someone poisoned him with some substance like LSD that induces psychotic symptoms - but is difficult to trace.

But we'll see soon enough.