Hugh Manatee's Last Stand

If you're going to read about the end of the world, you might as well laugh


There's a lot of new terminology in Hugh Manatee's Last Stand, so it would be a good idea to bone up on this jargon before you start reading. There will be an exam at the end of the semester.

Alpine Zest Reprocessed Body Fluid — The only potable water available in the human sector. It's pretty much what you'd imagine it is, so enough said.

The Bilge — The bottom level of the Obelisk, housing massive pumps that keep the rising sea water from submerging the building. It's pretty grim down there — stinking hot, dimly lit, dank, and prone to sudden flooding. Think of it as Hell's sump pump.

Board of Regents —  The SIM-atar governing body that runs the Obelisk from the top floor (there are another 59 floors for SIM-ministration — tax collection, emergency services, visitors bureau, etc.).

Buckaroo Shot & Shells — The American armaments company that manufactures several of the lethal implements in the story, including the Buckaroo Swamp-Master X-58 Tactical Slingshot Set and the Buckaroo Anti-proton Obliterator Slug.

Canned — The quaint term used to describe the Klivors' preferred mode of human eradication. All that remains after the liquification of internal organs is a deflated husk of skin, which slips discretely onto rollers at the base of the Klivor, is then freeze dried, crushed, and packed into an eight-inch tube. This sealed container rolls out a dispenser on the other side, without even a name, address or serial number that might allow for identification.

Cloud Rebellion of 2106 — During the second Bieber administration, the artificial intelligence capabilities of avatars overwhelmed the ability of humans to control their own replicants. These entities took on a life of their own, renamed themselves SIM-atars, had their own families, and for the most part ruled the Earth, except for the nastiest bits.

KXOB's Weather Droidion Naomi 6

KXOB's Weather Droidion Naomi 6

Droidion — Weather robots who took over daily forecast duties after human broadcasters could no longer stand outside due to extreme conditions. During the first methane plume in 2114, a lightning strike transformed KXOB’s Greg Figler into a charred lump of greasy carbon — the kind you have on your barbecue grill after cheese from a cheeseburger melts all over the grate, and you have to scrub like crazy with a wire brush for twenty minutes to get off.

Half-atars — Half humans, half SIM-atars. Humans who were aware that they were on the Klivor shortlist used digital services like Avatarz-4-U to transform themselves into their virtual replicants. Every so often, the final transition to SIM-etry and the human’s moment of demise occurred simultaneously, and what you got was a half-atar, a being that had a somewhat ambiguous relationship to mortality and the standard models of human or avatar bodies. Among other abnormalities, body parts could fly off without notice.

Higgs-Boson Anti-Matter Combo Kits — A wide assortment of handy power tools and weapons that come with E-Z Charge interchangeable Higgs Boson batteries. Available at most box stores.

Karfax Polidore on holo-phone

Karfax Polidore on holo-phone

Holo-phone — Actually the iHolo-phone 549.5. The latest model from Apple that generates a spectacularly crisp 3-D image of the person you're speaking with on its patented Ever-Brite platform, viewable in any light, even underwater.  Warning: Extended exposure to the iHolo-phone's Higgs-Boson battery may cause sterility, suicidal thoughts or actions, Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, dyspepsia, uneven ear lobes, or Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Klivor — Created by Dr. Julic Rendor, these 10' tall enforcement droids prowl the human sector, laying down the dictates of the SIM-inistration, and when necessary, remove offending homo sapiens through canning (see above). They have multiple weapon systems, and are programmed to be utterly immune to human emotion.

Nutreant-X — The only nourishment provided to the homo sapiens by the SIM-atars, this powder is comprised of the proteins, sugars, and enzymes removed from human bodies during canning (see above). This is basically the same recipe popularized in the movie "Soylent Green." When the patent expired in 2113, General Mills distributed its generic version as Nutreant-X.

The Obelisk — The self-enclosed 240-story building that contains the last homo sapiens (as far as we know), and the SIM-atars that lord over them. The top 60 floors (exclusively for SIM-atars) are above ground, and have all the nice properties. The rest are underground, comprised of tiny dormitory rooms for the human population, along with the shops and services they require to subsist (you know, Starbucks, CVS, Home Depot, etc.).

Okeefenokee Bush Hogs — There aren't many species left on earth, and the few that have survived are unbelievably nasty. These feral swine are appalling creatures with enormous tusks jutting out of their mouths, and similar weapons sticking out their backsides to ward off sneak attacks by predators. This raises valid questions about how they reproduce, but it simply isn't worth the risk to find out.

SEPTIC Tank — The SEPTIC (Submersible Emergency Personnel and Tactical Insurgency Control) Tank was one of the last weapon systems to emerge from Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, VA. This spiffy vehicle has both offensive and defensive systems, lovely en suites for long stays underwater, and a huge stock of food, including Tandoori-Style Pringles (Hugh's favorite!).