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Vik Institute

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This information was revealed in part through the alternate reality game
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Characters:   Rachel Blake · Alvar Hanso · Thomas Mittelwerk · DJ Dan · William Kilpatrick · Malick · Other...
Themes: Hanso Foundation · DHARMA · Valenzetti Equation · Sri Lanka Video · Apollo Candy · Other...


The Vik Institute is a mental research facility in Vik, Iceland, being run by the Hanso Foundation as part of the Mental Health Appeal project. Dr. Armand Zander was the director of the Institute.

References

The Institute was first mentioned on the Hanso Foundation website under the Mental Health Appeal of the Foundation's active projects. It was described as a "flagship clinic" which had been recently reopened. The beautiful and remote location was said to be for therapeutic benefit, and the program aim was to "discover the cures of tomorrow while improving the lives of the patients of today."

On June 12th, after practically questioning every other project the Hanso Foundation was involved in, it was the Mental Health Appeal that was targeted by a Persephone hack. To support her claims, Persephone (later revealed as Rachel Blake), published a letter apparently sent to the Foundation's President Thomas Mittelwerk from Armand Zander, the director of the Vik Institute. Below is a clear copy of the text:

Vik

Dr. Mittelwerk:
It is with profound anger that I submit this complaint. I understand that The Hanso Foundation prides itself on experimentation and innovation -- but what is going on in my own hospital has left me extremely confused about my mission.

I was recruited to the directorship of the Vik Institute with a promise that I would be given the cutting edge of technology for the benefit of my patients. Instead, I find myself prisoner in a hall of mirrors.

Day in and day out, new doctors not in my staff enter and exit the hospital. Last night, twenty of my autistic savant patients were administered secret proprietary memory tests without my consult or consent by doctors whom I have never seen before -- and then there is, of course, the third sub-basement.

Never in my thirty years of treating the mentally ill have I seen the like. A secret ward containing patients whose illness is unknown to the hospital's director? It is, I regret to say, absurd and offensive.

I am responsible for the lives of hundreds of patients, but I cannot, in good conscience, take that responsibility if I am hamstrung by a secret program of experimentation taking place under my own nose.

The bottom line is, I expect a full accounting of the activities taking place in my hospital. If you are unable, or unwilling to comply, I may just be forced to tender resignation.

Regretfully yours,

Armand Zander

The Institute was next mentioned in one of Rachel Blake's Copenhagen blogs. While filming her video blog, Rachel was interrupted by Malick, an agent of Mittelwerk. While she hid in another room, the video continued as Malick received a call from his boss. Below is a transcript, and the video can be viewed here.

Yes?
Of course I’m working.
What fire?
OK, which institute?
Well if you need me I’ll gladly be there when I…
You hire me to fix things.
It’ll be fixed.
When I’m finished here!

After knocking Malick out with an iron, Rachel escaped unharmed. A comment was later posted on her message board from GidgetGirl, who revealed that Mittelwerk had flown to Iceland "clean up a mess involving one of the mental health institutes sponsored by the Hanso Mental Health Appeal." She also linked to a newspaper article extract, covering the fire and the death of the famed mathematician Vigi Benoffski. Below a copy of the newspaper text:

Vik2
The original extract

A tragic fire struck a hospital in the town of Vik, Iceland at 3 a.m. today, leaving one man, renowned mathematician Vigi Benoffski, dead, and several others hospitalized for burns and smoke inhalation. Authorities released only the names of three of the injured: Janos Backh (38), Orhan Hikmet Ran (43), and Vikram Sahani (28). Their families refused comment

The coastal community was awakened in the early morning hours by sirens, as rescue and fire units rushed to contain the blaze that erupted on a basement level of The Vik Institute. Hospital Director Armand Zander, "We are most thankful more were not put in harm's way. What happened to Mr. Benoffski is a horrible tragedy."

While the fire has been ruled accidental, uncertainty still lingers. It is not yet known whether the injured included any hospital patients. And, while Zander asserted that Benoffski "must have been visiting," he refused to comment how a visitor could have obtained access to a basement level well past visiting hours.

The final sentiments of the article were shared by Rachel, who decided, considering the evidence of the old letter Zander had written to Mittelwerk, as well as this new article, Zander must be more aware of what was transpiring at the Institute than he lets on. She posted on her blog that she was heading for Iceland.

Once there, Rachel waited for her opportunity to catch Zander alone, and posed as a reporter while secretly filming him. Below is the video, though a transcript is alternatively available here.

Rachel Blake - Video 5 (Lost Experience)03:33

Rachel Blake - Video 5 (Lost Experience)

With this knowledge, Rachel later worked out that the mathematicians and savants had been working on the Valenzetti Equation. She also discovered that Zander had gone missing, with "rumors" speculating that he had started the fire at the Vik Institute. Mittelwerk had also escaped, and Rachel worried about GidgetGirl explained how Mittelwerk had kept the savants running the equation from the moment the Institute opened, 24/7. He had come to Iceland personally not because of the mathematicians, but because the equation had stopped being run. Both women speculated that Mittelwerk must have valued the work at the Vik Institute with the highest regard and priority.

In Italy, Rachel recorded a conversation between Mittelwerk, Peter Thompson and an unnamed female employee (possibly Liddy Wales). Below is an edited transcript, the audio also available here.

TM: I admit the fire sets us back, but all we’ve really lost is time.

Woman: And Vigi Benoffski. If his family goes public…

TM: They won’t, I’ve seen to that.

Woman: We’re already funnelling millions into your mental programmes without knowing if this equations even…

TM: You say it like its an insult, “mental programs”. The Mental Health Appeal is the centre-piece of all our future plans.

Thus, it was ascertained that the work in the Vik Institute basement, of running the Valenzetti equation, had been the key part of the Mental Health Appeal and Mittelwerk's future plans, most likely connecting to his experiment in Sri Lanka.

Finally, these suspicions were confirmed during the Sri Lanka video, where Mittelwerk discussed an optimum mortality rate of 30%, otherwise for some reason the project would fail. He added that "our operatives at the Vik Institute have confirmed this figure."


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