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Chapter 9
Alternate Alternatives

The Ungulate of Trimestres Declares Universal Impanishad

by THOMAS FINFLANAHAGAN, Alternate Reality News Service International Writer

At 10:26 Eastern Pfugle Time, the Ungulate of Trimestres declared Universal Impanishad against the Extracarnate of Ralffff. The Ponchatello of Drastikania, the Extracarnate of Ralffff’s ambassador to the Grand Monasticon of Archan, refused to accept the Ungulate’s declaration, saying that he would take it to the Interregnum Council.

“The Extracarnate of Ralffff does not take threats of Universal Impanishad lightly,” the Ponchatello of Drastikania told reporters at a hastily convened ultravid conference. “It’s more the Grand Monasticon of Archan that we have a hard time thinking about with – hee hee – without – ha ha ha ha ha…oh, you know.”

Tensions between the two landlocked nations had been brewing for many circumsolar cycles, although the inciting incident may have been the recent confrontation between battle cruisers belonging to their respective navies. The declaration was long on rhetoric – usually involving the ripping off of three or more limbs and/or the making of soup from disembodied eyestalks – but short on the specifics of the Extracarnate’s complaint.

Flappy Cisneros, the Atsplatz General of the Interregnum Council, rolled her eyestalks at the news. “You know,” she commented, “it’s like a family squabble. The younger glefling keeps punching the older glefling in the shoulder until the older child cannot take it any more and beats him into unconsciousness. The Grand Monasticon of Archan has declared Universal Impanishad against the Extracarnate of Ralffff seven times in the last 400 circumsolar cycles. And, each time, they got their felderhoellens handed to them. You’d think they’d learn.”

Cisneros made a sound combining a honking car horn and an elephant fart, a sound this reporter has come to associate with sighing, and added: “Still, it’s my duty to try and prevent the senseless carnage that necessarily follows a declaration of Universal Impanishad, so I’ll meet with both sides and see what I can do.”

The development of the combustion flortblottle was an important milestone in the history of the Grand Monasticon of Archan. The country was soon crisscrossed by a superhighway that united the disparate tribes of quitlitters in their hatred of the combustion flortblottle. Of course, progress would not be stopped, as can be attested to by the smog-laden skies over Andropovia, Futzbeerahna, Kent and many of Archan’s other major cities.

The combustion flortblottle changed the nature of relationships, inasmuch as it made possible the central heating of the hives Archans live in. In particular, it changed the courtship rituals of the Archans in ways that are too disgusting to detail here. It also gave the Grand Monasticon a momentary advantage in the waging of Universal Impanishad. The advantage ended a moment after the discovery, when the Archans sold the invention to every other nation on the planet.

This experience led to the coining of the famous Archan adage, “You can lead a soustrappe to congrealation, but you cannot attenuate the corrosive umbratories of schmecks.”

So true, and yet so beside the point.

Experts are divided on whether or not the Ungulate of Trimestres has the authority to declare Universal Impanishad. “Declaration of Universal Impanishad is usually a religious matter,” historian Edwardo Arglebargle pointed out. “Ordinarily, such a declaration would be made by a senior Octabron of the Church of the Singular Admonition. One can only assume that the Ungulate had at least the tacit permission of the Church, although, as the Fluffnacker Incident clearly demonstrated, it’s not always wise to make assumptions about alien cultures.

Repeated attempts at contacting the Church of the Singular Admonition were thwarted by a prerecorded burflatz admonishing us to join the church and repent before the Great Pumpkin cleansed the world with pleonine juice and consigned unworthy sinners to a fate worse than pumpernickel. The burflatz added that journalists with the Alternate Reality News Service shouldn’t bother, since, as an alien species, we were doomed no matter how much love for the Great Pumpkin we declared.

Note to Readers: This dispatch from Thomas Finflanahagan ends abruptly for reasons that are not entirely clear. While we know that our intrepid reporter was dragged away from his transdimensional quantum computer in the midst of filing this article for our readers and subsequently trampled to death by squirrels, we do not know – indeed, may never know – whether his death was ordered by the Ungulate of Trimestres or the Ponchatello of Drastikania, or, indeed, if it was just an unfortunate result of the euphoria of Archans over the declaration of Universal Impanishad. Our condolences go out to the Finflanahagan family.

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