The Top Secret Rizzy Basement Dweller Lab

As one of the top-ranking high schools in New York, anyone would expect Stuyvesant students to be the smartest high school students there are, but recent leakage of top-secret research claims that their knowledge is all artificial and that there’s a catch to these intelligent workaholics.

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1992—The new $150 million Stuyvesant High School building had just opened, but with a quick glance at the exterior, it looked identical to the rundown building it had been built to replace. With a closer examination before the school day, however, one could lie down on the floor of the first-floor lobby and hear distant squeaks of the wheels of a dissection table and the clatter of sanitized metal instruments, and smell the sterile scent of alcohol. Underneath the glossy marble of the first floor, a “confidential” $100 million research lab had been installed within the school. The lab had been sleuthfully added to the blueprint of the new school building two days before it was finalized. Cautious maneuvering of custodial equipment in a tucked-away first-floor janitor’s closet would land one in this top-secret lab. Now, what happens in this lab hidden in such a prestigious school would shock all. Inside are elaborate chemical formulas and meticulously measured vials of a substance: Intelligereum. This substance was created by scientists with the intent of creating a race of humans with magnified textbook intelligence and studying skills—an elite team of scholars.

2024—Flash forward 32 years, and much has changed in the research lab. The original researchers had passed down years of research to their descendants in order for the information to remain confidential, but things had changed. Most importantly, funding that had originally been “borrowed” off of the DOE’s budget had been difficult to get a hold of as of late, resulting in the researchers working part-time jobs as Whole Foods and halal cart workers. Though working these jobs doubled the risk of being recognized by Stuy couples who stumble in looking for a Hudson staircase substitute, the team made sure to wear disguises that were carefully curated from their observations in Tribeca. Some disguises included: “tall individual dressed in all black with an emo bob,” “sad, unpaid college student in college debt,” and “well-fed pigeon from the park near Ferry’s.” In terms of a more recent update, a present-day member had decided to revise the lab’s name to “The Top Secret Rizzy Basement Dweller Lab” as a way of keeping up with modern slang while maintaining the lab’s aura of mystery. However, despite these changes, the creation and administration of Intelligereum remained consistent, starting with the lab’s extensive hospital network.

Year after year, hospitals from all over NYC would present new mothers and fathers with a birth acknowledgment form, but printed in size four font by water-diluted ink as a “money-saving” technique. As a government-issued form, new parents needed to fill it out, but the light ink and small font made it very easy to misread words and skip the occasional fill-in-the-blank. These circumstances were perfect for the lab to hide a statement of consent in the fine print. The statement read: “I, the parent or guardian of this child, consent to my newborn being tested with Intelligereum and its affiliated laboratory.” Following the agreement, every year until the child turns 18, the researchers would send the child’s parents on a free vacation to Hawaii while they put the children under anesthesia, inject them with the formula, and let them incubate while absorbing the formula. After a thorough incubation session, the children’s memories would be wiped and they would be sent back into their homes and tucked back in bed. By the time they woke up, they would believe that the day went about as always and their parents would not suspect suspicious kidnappings of any sort. Instead, they would believe that their child is a genius due to their increase in grades and studying habits, and more anti-social by cutting off “bad influences.” However, little did they know this was the result of decades of experimentation.

By the time the SHSAT rolled around, the research process reached a crucial stage that ultimately determined who was and wasn’t worth experimenting on. As it’s every parent’s dream for their kids to get into the one and only Stuyvesant High School, parents would send their children to various kinds of test prep. Luckily for these children, The Top Secret Rizzy Basement Dweller Lab had taken over the test prep industry in NYC as a result of hardcore networking. This meant that trusted peers of the lab were posted in the roles of teachers and tutors. During this phase, the researchers would oversee the progress of the Intelligereum in their subjects, as well as be able to earn some extra income to fund future disguises. With these observations, the lab would rig the results of the SHSAT. 

This detailed process has been ongoing throughout the years, and due to excess amounts of evidence proving Intelligeum’s success, researchers in the lab have been mostly happy about their results. Consequently, they threw occasional parties for their successes. After one of these parties, a junior researcher who hadn’t made it back to the lab before the school day started had heard echoes of some sort of demonic chant near the ninth floor while hiding in the ventilation system. It turns out the researcher had stumbled upon a ritual of sacrificing three sophomore AP Chemistry students for an extra credit project worth 0.01 percent of their grade. Scenarios have gotten crazier by the year, displaying the students’ collective craze over maintaining perfect grades.  

However, an unsuspected trend has grown alongside the success of Intelligereum: social intelligence has remarkably decreased in step with overstudying. An anonymous non-Stuy student who has friends in Stuy reportedly claimed that they were actually happy they didn’t get into Stuy for they would’ve become a “certified whacko that was connected to the hip with their studying materials and best friends with their TI-84 calculators.” The student explained, “I invited [NAME REDACTED] over for a sleepover once and… never again. I told them to bring pillows over so we could have a pillow fight but they instead brought three different editions of Calculus BC textbooks saying that this might help those unwilling to study learn some calc. Then when the conversations started to stray away from school-related topics, they’d whip out and start their homework instead… during a winter break sleepover? Seriously?” The researchers are currently unsure of what to think of the lack of social skills, but are nonetheless elated to hear about Intelligereum’s success.

As researchers continue to consider whether this trend will be harmful to their main experiment, the lab plans on starting a sub-branch dedicated to a social experiment comparing Stuy students to non-Stuy students. So, if you know any particularly socially awkward people in Stuy that would be interested in participating in this experiment, please consult the nearest couple near you. Chances are, they might just know where the lab is.