Sunday July 10, 2005
Book 6: Resident Mad Scientist — Part V: Instant Replay
Note: Readers of yesterday's strip may be inclined to believe that "mind-ripping" is less invasive, less damaging to the victim, and generally more "humane" than is intimated by the word "mind-rip." This is a useful myth for the author, because it allows him to maintain a "PG" rating on the strip. A description of how F'Sherl-Ganni brains and attached very-long-term memory storage systems (if you've been wondering what the horns are for, that's what they're for) are protected, and how that protection is overcome would be time-consuming and more than a little disturbing. Suffice it to say that following the simulation in which key pieces of information were discreetly lifted from Director P'Sloon's mind, his brain and his horns each ended up in separate containers, where they were further disassembled with a level of clinical detachment that would make the most battle-hardened forensic medical examiner pop off early for a no-lunch break.

Note Number Two: Because we know you're going to ask... the origins of the word "Paan'uri" have been lost in the deep mists of time. Long life-spans and long memories notwithstanding, the best that F'Sherl-Ganni linguists have been able to come up with by way of explanation is that it is a contraction of a longer phrase that either meant "That which lives where nothing should," or "That gravitic distortion is giving me the willies."

The Paan'uri have their own language, in which they call themselves "US" and they call the life forms made of baryonic, or "visible" matter "ANNOYING."


Narrator: Petey has mind-ripped a Gatekeeper. Everything he knew, Petey knows.
Petey: In the language of the F'Sherl-Ganni, or Gatekeepers, these Dark Matter Entities are called the Paan'uri.
Narrator: The Fleetmind knows it all, too, and now must brief the mere mortals.
Fleetmind A.I. I: Roughly six million years ago the Paan'uri and the progenitors of the F'Sherl-Ganni fought a war over the teraport.
Fleetmind A.I. II: Teraports were already the cause of wars in the universe of "normal" matter. Destructive as those wars were, they paled in comparison to the fight with the Paan'uri.
Athens: Teraport activity was "polluting" Paan'uri "space," and they put a stop to it very simply, attacking any gravitic source capable of generating a wormhole, and then forcing the nearest star to explode.
Athens: Losses were great on both sides, and the Paan'uri agreed to a treaty
Fleetmind A.I. III: They retreated to the Andromeda Galaxy, and the F'Sherl-Ganni agreed to develop a system of wormgates instead of using teraports.
Petey: Then, 100,000 years ago, the Paan'uri provided the F'Sherl-Ganni with instructions for creating a zero-point-energy drive at the core of the Milky-Way galaxy.
Captain Kevyn: Wait. . . The core generator is a drive?
Ennesby: Yes and no. Yes, its stated purpose was to prevent the two giant galaxies from their inevitable merge.
Fleetmind A.I. IV: But no, the Paan'uri did not intend it as a drive. It has become clear that their intent was to use it to destroy their enemies forever.
Captain Kevyn: And they tricked the F'sherl-Ganni into building it!
Petey: So. . . next up on the to-do list: Declare war on the Andromeda Galaxy.