The Snail Factory

The Girl From Skort

The Snail Factory

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Ignefe was by no means the ideal female of her species. She was little fatter than Efengi, while the perfect woman of Skort was a massive, immobile orb of fatty tissue incapable of motion. She would never be that fat, because she was, on her mother's side, part Osi.

The Osi were the second species ever to visit Skort from a nearby star. They were in many respects worshipped as the ideal beings by nearly every species they encountered. They had never had a war in their entire recorded history. They had no poverty or famine, their history book was called the book of agreements, and was exactly that: A long chronicle of compromises and fortuitous arrangements. They were smart, about twice as smart as the next smartest species and about four times as intelligent as humans or Skortians. They displayed an extreme sense of order and ritual.

Looking something like the Walking Stick Insects of Earth (but blue with almost mammalian faces and huge lilly pad like feet), they all moved with a calculated sense of grace. Their greeting motions were like dances. Their language was beyond any other species capability to understand. In essence, it was nothing but repeated patterns of clicks. Morse code times ten with a different series for every word, and a grammar that we simply have no terms capable of explaining. They spoke rapidly and a single sentence sounded akin to a typewriter pool at a busy newspaper. They had computers that could translate of course, their computers as of 1941 on Earth were about as advanced as Earth's computers would be in 2788.

By Earth's 2788, the Osi did not exist. They had little occasion to visit Earth at first, we simply had nothing to offer them. They had no use for cheese, like Skort, as they consumed only their own parents and egg sacks, and considered all food other than their own dead elders to be an abomination. The first Osi came to Earth in the mid 21st century on a diplomatic mission akin to a super-genius who got dragged along to a frat party by his chubby old pal. If not for Skort, we'd never have met the Osi and the Osi would still be around.

As it was, the Osi found one thing on Earth that was lacking on her homeward: Art. Perfection breeds a lack of creativity. With little concept of argument or battle, they has no dramas, no war stories, no non-fiction at all. Their art, such as it was, looked nearly identical to Muslim art from Earth, endless geometric designs that avoided any representation of people or events. Similarly, they had no concept of lies and so they had no concept of fiction. Our chronicles of the unreal stunned them, and became the first genuinely new thing they'd seen in thousands of years (The average Osi lived 422 Earth years, or one orbit of their homeworld which held a very elongated elliptical orbit causing drastic seasonal change, and a cycle of hibernating eggs, frozen dead parents after spawning and so on and so forth).

Having ignored the uniformly stale and pornographic art of Skort and most other planets, the Osi devoured human poetry, film, comics and literature. They could read War and Peace in an hour, and were shocked at the violence, the hate, the humanity of it and anything like it. Within hours of our works landing on the Osi homeworld, it was the greatest topic of contention ever to hit them. Some argued it was fascinating. Others argued it would cause violence and degrade their civilization. The later was a self fulfilling prophecy, as those very debates turned violent and resulted in the first murder in recorded Osi history.

And so it went, infecting their colonies, their scientific fleets of exploration, their every continent and colony. Within a single generation, the Osi had been wiped out by the films of Pauly Shore and the novels of Jackie Collins. Only the genetic legacy they'd shared in experiments with other species lived on. It wasn't considered a great loss among most interstellar communities as the Osi were above all considered boring and pretentious, and in the end feeble for having died out from a screening of Encino Man, which was in most star systems thought to be average among Shore's works.

And so survived Ignefe, 1/16th Osi and completely unaware of the fact. She'd never grow as fat as the females in Skort's magazines, but Efengi never for a second suffered such a thought to enter the brain sack at the base of his spine. He loved her from the moment they met, and this story shall also be told.