The weekly COVID-19 testing program began on campus in late January. Since then, things have been going rather smoothly.

RIT has even been named, “University of the Year,” for the first time. With the testing program allowing classes and extracurriculars to continue close to normal, things almost seem too good to be true.

As a reporter, I’ve developed a sixth sense for any concerns unique to the student body. And for some reason, I felt something in the air whenever I passed the Gordon Field House — suspicious vibes, perhaps? Since no one had come to me with skepticism about our first semester of required testing, I didn't have much reason to investigate; that is, until recently.

When third year Alien Linguistics major and Vice President of the Climate Change Isn’t Real or I’m a Bar of Soap club, John Looney, approached me, I was all ears.

“COVID-19 itself is a false narrative made up to control us. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if something’s going on behind the scenes of the testing program,” he said, with air quotes around the word “testing.”

That seemed valid, but what kind of crazy scheme could possibly be happening?

“I’m guessing that those [specialists] are actually taking out a piece of our brains, probably for mind control,” Looney continued.

“I’m guessing that those [specialists] are actually taking out a piece of our brains.”

Now that's a story.

After scouting out the COVID-19 test labs on campus, I determined the best way to infiltrating the testing program without raising suspicion.

For the next few weeks, I secretly followed a few of the faculty members who worked within the testing facilities. And then I saw him: Jim Bonkers, a lab technician with no family or friends to look for him. He had a long beard that looked exactly like one of those fake ones you could easily snag off of for just $12.

He would be the perfect disguise.

And his habit of sneaking outside to update his eHarmony profile would be his downfall. It was fairly easy to create a phony profile and match with him online. Then, when he came over that night, I stole his access card, locked him in my closet and vanished into the night with my fake beard clinging wildly to my face.

That same night, I infiltrated the testing lab as an undercover champion for the truth, a covert spy for justice, if you will.

That same night, I infiltrated the testing lab as an undercover champion for the truth, a covert spy for justice, if you will.

When I entered the lab, there wasn't a person in sight. I had only taken three steps inside before walking straight into a table of microchips lined up side-by-side.

Suddenly, a woman appeared and ushered me out of the lab and into an office with a round table in the center.

“Jim, the meeting just started,” the woman said to me, closing the door behind us.

There must have been about 30 faculty members gathered around the table, all of them watching me intently, as I made my way to the last empty chair and sat down.

With a unanimous nod, the entire group pulled back their hair to reveal their clean-shaven heads. Bald, except for a tattoo etched across the top. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a tattoo of Ritchie and a fairly detailed one at that.

And that was when it dawned on me that the meeting I had stumbled into wasn’t just an ordinary faculty meeting — it was a cult meeting.

The others turned to me when I failed to remove my wig like they had done a moment ago. “I have a rash,” I lied.

The head of the testing program, Dr. Simon Sais, stood up from the table.

“So far, our efforts have been paying off,” he said. “The devices have been inserted into each student every week to monitor their behavior. Since then, we’ve had a few dozen students we needed to take care of, but other than that, our plan is working. Consider RIT’s title as ‘University of the Year’ secure.”

Another faculty member chimed in. “Just last week, the devices reported a student complaining that their Paranormal Activity professor got so carried away with talking to the undead that he actually forgot to teach the class. So, needless to say, that student has been taken care of,” they said.

The declaration wasn’t met with a round of applause by the other members, but instead, a cacophony of roars — like tigers.

The university was planting microchips that could immediately report whenever a student took part in something that even remotely stepped outside of RIT’s reputation as the perfect college. I knew I had to do something about this information, but I didn’t know exactly what.

So I called the police.

A few moments later, I remember thinking how weird it was that RIT Public Safety had showed up instead, but when I saw two of them walk through the doors of the laboratory, I had to admit that I felt relieved.

That was before a gust of wind blew their hair back and revealed their identical Ritchie tattoos. To my horror, they were also members of the COVID-19 testing cult.

There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t back out now; I knew too much and had proved it by calling the authorities for help.

The officers then approached me with two simple options. “You can either join us, or enroll in 8 a.m. classes every semester for the rest of your time at RIT.”

I still had so many questions left unanswered. What happened to the students who went missing? How deep did this go? And why did Jim Bonkers mention his undying love for Miss Piggy on his dating profile?

I could only imagine what I was going to look like with a shaved head and an image of Ritchie tattooed across it.