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Crichton's Notes


I know too much about these things. I wish I didn't, but that crazy Dr. Tumii just wouldn't shut up.

Qatal Mollusks look like mutant clams and come in at least three colors: green, orange and purple. Each Mollusk contains a neurally linked family of bacteria. This family is tighter than the Corleones: It considers itself to be a single organism. If the colony gets split up, its pieces keep struggling to share sensations with each other until they either reunite or die.

Bacteriologists might find that endearing. I didn't, because Qatal Mollusks are edible and I shared one with Sikozu. If Mollusks get shared between two or more people, the bacteria colony gets split between different stomachs. Then the pieces go crazy trying to transmit their sensations. As a result, the people who shared the Mollusk also start experiencing each other's pain, pleasure, indigestion and fear, etc.

Worse, since people can't merge together the way bacteria can, they have no way of reuniting the Mollusk bacteria colony. As a result the sensation-sharing just gets worse and more debilitating. Eventually, the unfortunate hosts weaken, become paralyzed and die. (And I thought that the chili dog I ate in Lubbock gave me stomach problems.)

As a fun twist, on the planet Khurtanan, where we were ate these deadly delicacies, the symptoms of Qatal Mollusk-poisoning look a lot like the symptoms of "Space Madness," a disease that freaks out the natives so much that they shoot anyone they think is infected.

There's one cure, invented by Dr. Tumii, who's also the sonuvabitch who poisoned us in the first place. Long story. The cure is a potion that includes a sample of the same-color Mollusk which the patients ingested, mixed with samples of both patients' urine. Yum. The sufferers drink the potion, then hold hands. This forces the bacteria to ooze their way out through the patients' palms and merge outside the body, a process that takes several arns

I'd like to think that this experience brought all of us on Moya closer together ... but who am I kidding?


Coup by Clam