Extract from Pests and Pestilence: First Edition: History and Traditions:
Pestworld: (also known as Benedict Benoletti's World) has no indigenous flora or fauna. Its terraforming and seeding are models of sophistication and execution; nectar for the academic bees of the ancient worlds. History begins with the landfall of humans. The first cave painting was with an aerosol and the only fossil record is Country and Western.
Plateau, the political and administrative capital of Pestworld, possesses a disingenuous aura of antiquity. Things look older than they are. People look wiser than they are. Buildings, walls and roads are constructed of the same dark stone, hacked from Hell's Hole, the vast quarry at the center of the high plateau. If the young structures appear somewhat weather-beaten, the blame lies more with the occasional screaming storms that crash in from the Southern Ocean and scour across the city than with the passage of time.
Only four other major centers of population cling to the surface of Pestworld: San Benedict, home to the Smithsonian Extrasolar Institute of Life Sciences; New Rome, an agricultural center nestled between the twin hills of Romulus and Remus; New Venice, a not entirely successful attempt to populate the Angels' Archipelago, and Easytown, site of various philanthropic adventures, including Benoletti's Home for the Bemused and Befuddled.
Outside these centers, Pestworld remains a morass of speed-terraformed marsh, forest, mountain and desert. Many brave souls have ventured out, and some have established small hamlets, fortresses and farmsteads, but few have returned. Unverifiable stories have also returned; tales of impossible creatures and horrifying encounters. Widely discounted as the pathetic justifications of losers, the tales have nevertheless entered the popular imagination and inspired many a bold adventurer to bid goodbye to both civilization and life.
Extracts from Pests and Pestilence: First Edition: Definitions:
Pest: generic term for any of two thousand plus life-constructs
melded in the laboratories of Benoletti's
Early attempts to draw a distinction between those life forms purposely engineered for the fledgling economy of the planet and those whose purpose defies both comprehension and common sense were poorly supported by the populace. In a matter of a decade, the term "pest" became synonymous with every walking, flying, swimming or slithering creature, and even a few humans who chose to live out their lives on the periphery of acceptable social morality. The only unambiguous clue to the genesis of a life form is where the name of the creator remains in the nomenclature - which, luckily, is by far the majority.
Brinkman bodyguard: a fortuitous attempt to meld a primate with a security consultant.
Lazenby literary rat: erudite, educated and ever so slightly snooty, the Ell-Ell Rat is highly popular with children for its love of dolls' houses. A well-furnished house with a comfortable bed and a shelf of academic tomes will keep the creature content for years. Questions relating to the rat's ability to comprehend the text on the page are discouraged by toy manufacturers.
Marconi fermenting gargoyle: this nasty pest with a propensity for scaring lone walkers at night has been blamed for more than a few heart attacks and nervous breakdowns. However, it is at its most dangerous when dead. Within fifteen minutes of the creature's demise, the build up of digestive gases and a little understood catalyst lead the body to inflate to the size of a fat child - twice its original size. At this stage, just a single spark is sufficient to cause an explosion large enough to leave a discernable crater in the bedrock.
a paper-thin somewhat pointless creature, it is widely believed that the rat
resulted from Mr. Merriweather's ambition to produce the flattest possible pest. Present knowledge
suggests that he succeeded.
Pizza Princess: the popular name given to Andrea Anchovy, a short, rotund woman who almost single-handedly brought Plateau through the Year of the Bad Seed. When the crops failed and the citizens starved, Andrea set herself to finding which amongst the numerous pests could be safely eaten. Through trial and error she put together her adventurous cook-book and a delicious range of pizzas. However, she was to enjoy little of her own fame due to the build up of stubborn toxins in her brain and she is now said to be living out her days in the Abbey of Eric Anthony, believing she is a French fry.
Snitzel moth-winged dachshund:
somewhat smaller than the bowyer dachshund, this tiny, fast-moving but harmless
creature is fond of squeezing into confined spaces and is often found between
the pages of books and inside wallets. Frequently heading the top ten list of
fluttering phobias published in Underbelly Magazine, the moth-winged dachshund
has an established value as a component in high-risk entomological medicine.
Stringfinger: popular name for the dupres binding monkey. The appellation does not
do justice to the ingenious fiberspinning glands and rotating fingers which
permit the creature to plait, wrap and knot. The stringfinger has long been a
major headache for the Mail Service due to its predisposition for parceling up
smaller rodent pests and depositing them in mailboxes. Rumors of address
labels, correct postage and successful deliveries have become part of the
mythology of the Service.
Thompson fanger: a dangerous pack-pest, fond of co-ordinated ambush and bloodsucking, the fanger has nevertheless established itself as a valuable commodity in the commercial life of Pestworld. Whilst of no use for flight, the silvered bat-wings open out to three meters to maximize radio reception for communication with its pack-mates. Used widely for constabulary waistcoats since the amazing incident now popularized in the nursery rhyme "Jack's Bloody Knife And The Fanger That Wouldn't Die", the major market for the wings has moved to the remoter regions of the planet, where they have found use as superior trivee aerials.
Tindall telescopic gazelle: rarely seen due to its astonishing ability to spot a predator at ten kilometers, the gazelle is something of a mystery. It is said to have projecting eyes and an extendable body. In spite of denials by the scientific community, these stories persist.
Triple-turkey: a purpose-designed, triple-breasted fowl with a labor-saving, self-plucking capability.