Chapter 1: The Humble Glumpie
Editor's Note: The following text is taken from the surviving fragments of a field-book found among the possessions of one Mae Shanks, an undergraduate Xeno-zoologist who attended the Neo-Mernanshire University of Unified Arts and Science. Sadly the absence of Mae's body and the general disarray of her camp-site suggested that she, like so many of her predecessors, fell victim to that inexplicable curse that has for so long benighted her family line. It should be noted that, as a student standing at the threshold of a whole new area of research, Mae was only just beginning to understand the full complexity of her subject. As such, future researchers should be wary of reading too much truth into her interpretations. Much work has been performed in the years following her death, and though many of her conclusions concerning the life cycle and habits of these creatures have been debunked, it is the hope of the publishers that this text remains of both historiographical and artistic value. For a more accurate study of Glumpies, please refer to Matthew McLaughlin's forthcoming Xtrominator Field Guide.
During one of my regular supervisor meetings with Professor McLaughlin, I was given the following field sketch that had been passed on to him by the illustrious Ryan S Thomason.
|Ryan S Thomason's Glumpie|
"This is a Glumpie," said the professor in his usual distracted way, seemingly engrossed in simultaneously writing the scripts for several educational pictorial pamphlets. "I need a field guide on these creatures and those that they live in. I've booked you a place on a research vessel leaving tomorrow, so you had better start packing your interstellar exploration equipment. Oh, and don't let it distract you from that dissertation about the robots."
And that, as they say, was that. As I write these words, planet fall has been achieved, and we have had distant sightings of the glumpies, or Mentulavermis Primigenius to use their official title, though I believe the higher echelons of academia are currently engaged in yet another nomenclature war which may change that. I hope that tomorrow I can get closer to the creatures and begin to begin recording them.
I have identified two Glumpies that are to be my case studies. The larger one in this picture I have named Mr Greyback, after the colour of the ridge that runs from tooth to tail. Ms Brown is shown here in her expanded state, though Kimi, my guide on this world, says that I am foolish to assign genders to these creatures though she will not give reasons for her ire.
I was originally going to call my two subjects Little and Large, as we found them relaxing in exactly the state I have here attempted to capture. However, as soon as they noticed our presence they began crawling towards us, and I realised the folly of this system. The glumpie is a very malleable beast, and can in fact twist into all manner or shapes as it moves.
I have begun gaining the trust of my glumpie partners. They have been allowing me to get close enough to make more detailed sketches of their forms. Kimi claims I am the one being too trusting. She says I am getting too attached to them, underestimating their deadly nature.
Kimi has begun drinking this strange black tar stuff from the outer rim, and shouts at me that it is I who have driven her to it. Tensions between the two of us are... developing, to say the least. However, the alcohol has loosened her tongue. She has begun describing some of the glumpies she has seen on her travels. The intra-species variation of these creatures is more amazing than I have already witnessed. Here I have drawn hypothetical illustrations of her accounts. Apparently there are two headed glumpies that allow for these gentle giants to move more easily through their tunnels. Others have been witnessed "eating their own heads then crapping themselves out in one swift movement," turning themselves inside out to form a spiky shell of their teeth!
Kimi drank a full bottle tonight. She went on to describe what she has heard of the glumpie reproduction cycle. Words escape me, I have illustrated the process here. I feel she is trying to scare me into abandoning the project.
Kimi has begrudgingly admitted to having never actually seen a "Glumpie Rut Pile". I'm sure it must be an stellar-myth, surely? When I questioned Kimi on the matter she simply shrugged, and told me not to call her Shirley.
I have been getting close enough to the partners now to make detailed records of their faces. This has caused Kimi much consternation. She claims they have my scent, and refuses to continue sleeping at our camp.
Editor's Note: This was the final entry into Mae's journal. We have collected here only some of the assorted pages detailing the Glumpie itself. In our next instalment, we shall go back over the pages that investigated the natural habitat of the Glumpie, the Flesh Planet itself.