The Memo Tom Mazanec TO: All members FROM: Barbara Kirby, Board Chairperson DATE: May 10, 2193 SUBJECT: Mammaloid Culture I am sure we are all deeply saddened by the recent death of our colleague Joseph Crane. I have spoken with my mammaloid contact and he has shed some light on this tragic event. We must all bear in mind that the mammaloid population has been living off planet for a century. They have developed a culture of their own which is quite different from ours. I have tried to remember this all along (refer to my memo of March 19 past regarding extreme caution in discussing religion with mammaloids). Some of the members of our organization have also given considerable thought to how mammaloid society might differ from human society (see report of Dr. Gonzalez on how the mammaloid telempathy might affect their sexual practices, for example). But until my conversation with my contact I had greatly underestimated the degree of divergence between our cultures. As most of you have heard, Mr. Crane approached Kappa Skeelar-53-Didelphis and greeted him with "Good day, Mr. Didelphis -" whereupon Kappa Skeelar-53-Didelphis immediately shot Mr. Crane with a nanomissile bullet, shattering his skull. While this particular mammaloid is known to be a bit of a hardliner, this was not an expected result of the scheduled meeting with Mr Crane, especially not in the first five seconds. As my contact explained, Mr. Crane had grossly offended the Kappa (roughly equivalent to a rank of Captain). In the days between the two Wars, and more secretly even before the Koŝmarego, mammaloids had taken to using "Homo" as a slur for human, analogous to "toon" or, in earlier times, such words as "yid","spic", "wop","nigger",etc. This had the advantage that the leading group in bigotry against mammaloids was (and is) Fundamentalist Evangelical Protestantism, who sometimes used the term "homo" as offensive slang for homosexuals. The use of the genus name was then extended to all the mammaloid species, to severely reprimand an inferior or to make a vicious insult to an equal (directing toward a superior is, of course, unthinkable). This sort of thing helps explain other problems that we have had recently in our meetings with representatives of the mammaloids. I well recall when a number of us, myself included, invited the Phi (Sergeant) Torrig-9-Gulo to a meeting at a restaurant. The Phi was extraordinarily liberal in his attitudes to humans, a fact likely responsible for his low rank, in spite of his considerable level of ability. The restaurant management was also exceptionally liberal in attitudes towards mammaloids, a fact responsible for considerable economic pain on their part. Great care was taken to produce a menu for the Phi which would be palatable for his species, and the restaurant was reserved for us alone that day. The moment our food was served, Phi Torrig-9-Gulo angrily stormed out. My contact explained that mammaloids do not eat in public. In the early days, food and water required hydrogen to synthesize, which is present on the moon only in parts per million, and then only in the upper meter or so of the lunar regolith. This is why the mammaloids have done so many projects that outrage the System Preservationists, such as the confiscation of Comet Halley in 2134 or the more recent mining and depletion of Saturn's rings. It was not convenient to see someone else eating or drinking when you are getting your food and water in medicinal doses. Even later, it is not pleasant for, say, a rabbit mammaloid to watch a fox mammaloid eating something with the taste, texture, smell, color, etc. of rabbit meat, even if he knows intellectually that it is a synthetic construct and not a chunk of his mother. Even a monogamously mated pair would not dream of eating together, or a child eating with its mother after being weaned. It may perhaps help to remember that this is a two edged sword which cuts both ways. My contact is perhaps the most human friendly mammaloid in existance. He helped create the killer nanites used in the Second War, but he smuggled the plans for those nanites to Earth at great risk to his life. Twice, he has barely escaped assassination attempts, once when he dropped a memex pad and bending down to pick it up had an octonitrocubane bullet go through the window and miss his head by centimeters, to blow a half meter hole in the wall; and once when a friend asked to borrow his aircar and was blown to bits along with the aircar. In spite of this, he continues to work for human-mammaloid relations, perhaps something only someone whose ancestors hunted cobras for a living would have the courage to do. If not for him, the War would have killed 20 billion instead of 12 billion, and there would be no survivors instead of the 8 billion of us who are still alive. Yet when he first saw a human close up, he was startled to see that humans had tiny hairs on their arms. He had thought that humans where hairless below the neck, like a dolphin. And who can forget the incident when Lambda Fralis-32-Cryptoprocta greeted a delegation of nuns from the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary? The males of many of the mammaloid ur-species use that particular salute...the organ is under voluntary control in many species, and others had this control added when mammaloids were used as entertainment. Many male mammaloids have taken to using this display - in emulating their ur-species ancestors they are further distinguishing themselves from humans. The Lambda's endowment in this regard is simply more spectacular than other mammaloid species, being nearly a meter long and covered with tiny spurs. He did not intend to give the nuns conniptions. People, I have no wish to be turned into an anteater. I have even less wish to be turned into a corpse. And I do not wish to see Mother Earth lunarized even more than it already is. Our organization is working hard to promote human-mammaloid harmony and avert a Third Human War. Bear in mind that nearly all the mammaloids who saw Earth before the Koshmarego have died of Struldbrugism, and the young mammaloids take their society for granted. I am working with my contact to learn more about their culture, and to teach him more about ours. In any dealings with mammaloids, please be *extremely* cautious and make sure to explain that any faux pas will be unintentional. Just a reminder, services for Mr. Crane will be held at the Church of the Empty Tomb at 2000 (8 PM for us fogies from the 21st Century) tomorrow. Closed casket, of course.