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
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
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.
DRIZZLE DRAZZLE DRUZZLE DROME
TIME FOR THIS ONE TO COME HOME