in reply to
Clearly lost my mind
One possibility: Backticks only captures stdout; if either of those spawned programs print anything to stderr, it's going to be captured by the web server as output from your program. You might try redirecting stderr of the two spawned programs. I notice you don't do anything with the stdout that you catch in both cases. Perhaps it would be better to redirect stdout/stderr to log files instead?
A word spoken in Mind will reach its own level, in the objective world, by its own weig